JOHN HARDING PHOTO Marcus Clair of K’ak’ot’lats’i School in Quatsino eyes a shot during the elementary school basketball tournament at Port Hardy Secondary School on Thursday.

Young students gather for hoops fest in Port Hardy

About 100 elementary school students from seven area schools participated

It was a basketball tournament that wasn’t really about basketball.

OK, there was the athleticism, the dribbling, passing and shooting of the popular court sport. And the participants were certainly focussed on the games, which were exciting and competitive.

But as Eagleview teacher and organizer Sean Barfoot explained, this elementary school tournament was about much more than basketball.

“It’s about playing and loving the sport of basketball and building relationships between our school families,” said Barfoot, who also expressed his gratitude for PHSS for hosting

There were about 100 students from seven area schools represented at the tournament last week, which is in its sixth year at PHSS. The students are in grades 5-7.

Some schools have less than 50 students, some almost 300. That could really make for a competitive imbalance, so the players came with their school teams but didn’t necessarily play with their classmates.

“We changed it this year and mixed them up,” said Barfoot.

Over the six years of the tournament, Barfoot said the level of play has leaped.

“They’ve really improved,” he said. “We are having good, quality games.”

The participating schools were A.J. Elliot of Sointula, Eagleview and Fort Rupert of Port Hardy, K’ak’ot’lats’i School of Quatsino, Sunset Elementary of Port McNeill, Seaview of Port Alice and the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw School.

“It’s a friendship tournament,” said Barfoot.

— John Harding