It certainly wasn’t the outcome the Bashaw Rebels wanted, but the event was still a tremendous success.
Bashaw played host Nov. 22 to 24 to its first ever provincial championship — 1A Boys volleyball — and the only slight downside was that the Rebels just missed out on the playoffs. The Rebels would fall in a one set tie-breaker to Fairview’s St. Thomas More 29-27 to knock the hosts out of contention.
For head coach Jesse Viske, there was nothing more he could have asked from the team.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better performance at provincials. Though the tie breaking game resulted in a loss, the boys rose to the pressure and played their best game,” he stated.
“And both the gold and silver winners came out of our pool. That is how close we came to a provincial championship.”
Viske added that coming in, it was simply a goal to win one match. So winning two and coming within a point of making the playoffs was tremendous.
The Rebels got that first win out of the way quickly, beating Edmonton’s Parkland Immanuel Christian Nov. 22, 25-18, 25-20 in their first match of the tournament. Vegreville’s St. Mary’s Saints — who wound up with the silver — handed the Rebels their first loss later that day.
Day two saw the Rebels win their second match by defeating St. Thomas More 25-22, 25-20, only to come up against Senator Gershaw from Bow Island — the eventual provincial champions — to fall in straight sets.
That left the Rebels in a three-way tie for second in their pool, with St. Mary’s handed second and a berth in the quarterfinals, forcing the Rebels and St. Thomas More into a sudden death one set tie-breaker.
Aside from the disappointment of losing, the team showed remarkable attitude on and off the court while the entire event received praises from other clubs and officials.
Two Rebels players were awarded sportsmanship pins — Marshall Moch and Kurtis Poffenroth — as selected by the tournament’s officiating staff, which also lauded the tournament committee for how well run and organized the championship was.
“As a tournament committee, we were honoured with remarks from the head official stating that the tournament was the best ran event he has attended in the 15 years he has officiated provincials,” Viske noted.
The committee included principal Myranda Shepherd along with Marj Boden, Amanda Swedberg, Al Middleton, Kyle McIntosh, Sarah-Jo Errity, Karin Schneider, Sherry Letendre, Candace Hodder, Al Lechelt, Twylla Shier, Heather Dimond and Kyle Brachman — all of whom were assisted in huge numbers by many other in the community.
“The opportunity to host would not have been an option without the community rallying together to raise money for the completion of a full size gym,” explained Shepherd.
“The challenge we as a school had, was ensuring that we could pay proper tribute to our community; to show our deep gratitude for what we were afforded and demonstrate the true extent of the opportunities that this community made possible. On behalf of the staff at Bashaw School, I would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to this incredible school and community for making this event a reality and a success.”
Planning began 18 months ahead of the tournament, once the bid was accepted, with a ‘next level’ vision for the event coming true in every sense — from the banners around the community to the tremendous atmosphere for every match to the support from the community as a whole.
“No one person made this happen. It took the whole community and together we made something absolutely incredible happen,” she added.
“In my view, this wasn’t simply about volleyball, it was about pride in both our school and our community. This weekend served as a powerful reminder of the possibilities when we all work collaboratively towards a common vision.”