It was a sweep of epic proportions. For the first time in the history of the Yorkton Elementary Schools Sports Association (YESSA) one school swept both the boys’ and girls’ city titles in the wind-up championship tournament.
YESSA president Mark Schendel says schools began preparing for the season in February. The teams opened the regular basketball season the first weekend in March, he reports.
This year the six participating schools fielded 16 teams, eight boys and eight girls teams. Both M.C. Knoll and St. Michael’s Schools had so many youngsters coming out for basketball, both had two teams of each girls and boys.
The city wide tournament was a three day event taking place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of last week at M.C. Knoll, St. Michael’s, Columbia and Yorkdale Central School as well as the Gloria Hayden Community Centre. Schendel thanks the host schools and the Gloria Hayden Staff for offering their facilities for the tournament.
Some 250 young athletes were involved with the season ending event, Schendel reports.
Both championship final games at M.C. Knoll and St. Michael’s featured a repeat match up with the Yorkdale Royals boys squaring off against the M.C. Knoll Knights and the Yorkdale Royals girls taking on the M.C. Knoll Knights girls.
Schendel also expresses his appreciation to the schools for running canteens during the tournament, to spectators for taking in the action and cheering on the players, to coaches who put in countless hours before school, at noon and after school, and to the athletes.
The amount of growth the young athletes have shown over the past three months is amazing, says Schendel. Basketball programs at local high school will benefit from the training and experience the kids picked up in the YESSA program, he suggests.
Schendel also thanks the officials for their work. The YESSA program is a developmental program for both athletes and officials who will be involved in officiating games at the high schools in the future. “We’re not just developing basketball players, we’re developing officials as well,” Schendel notes.
When the dust had settled the Yorkdale Royals girls claimed the win and the Yorkton city wide championship over runners up M.C. Knoll Knights while the Yorkdale Royals boys’ team won the boys’ city wide title over runners up M.C. Knoll Knights.
Royals coach Jason Boyda says the secret to success this year was having awesome athletes and a great assistant coach. The team went undefeated all season, Boyda notes and swept the tournament with 10 consecutive wins.
Coach Boyda says the Yorkdale boys are fantastic athletes. This was the first championship for the boys since 2001-02, he notes.