AMHERST – It’s going to be a busy weekend for basketball in Cumberland County.
Seven county teams will enter play today in hopes of winning provincial titles as the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation high school basketball championship tournaments take place across the province, including in Oxford and Springhill.
The ARHS Vikings enter the Division 2 tournament at Middleton as the top-seeded club. Amherst opens tonight at 4 p.m. against the Millwood Knights, who are ranked eighth.
“Our expectations are high as a team and I feel that if we take care of the basketball and set a face pace with our defensive intensity, we have a good shot at being successful,” coach Matt Gamblin said. “Going away with a banner requires three quality wins in three days, so our attention to detail and mental toughness have to be locked in. The boys have worked hard all season and laid a strong foundation, now it’s just about putting it all together.”
Other teams in the tournament include second-seeded Central Kings, third-ranked Breton Education Centre, fourth-seeded Middleton, fifth-seeded KES, sixth-seeded Northeast Kings Education Centre and seventh-ranked Dr. J.H. Gillis of Antigonish.
Depending on today’s game goes, the Vikings will either play in a semifinal at 8 p.m. on Friday, or in the loser bracket at 2 p.m.
The championship game is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The ARHS Vikettes will open their title defence on Friday at Central Kings Rural High School at 2 p.m. against the Hants East Tigers.
The Division 2 girl’s tournament is operating with a different format since there are only six teams competing.
Amherst also plays at 6 p.m. against Millwood.
The championship game is at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The bronze medal game is at 3 p.m.
In Springhill, the Golden Eagles, who won the bronze medal last year, are the second seed behind the Middleton Mustangs.
Springhill opens against Pictou, ranked seventh, at 6 p.m. following the opening ceremonies.
Other teams include Dalbrae Academy, Shelburne, Bridgewater, New Germany and Ecole Carrefour.
Games continue Friday and Saturday with the championship and bronze medal games on Saturday.
The Division 4 girl’s tournament goes at the Oxford Regional Education Centre with the host Lady Golden Bears entering as the second seed behind top-ranked Cabot High.
Oxford opens at 6 p.m. against seventh-ranked Lockeport.
“These girls have worked hard all season to get themselves into a strong position to have a good shot at winning gold again this year,” coach Peter Swan said. “We’re playing really well right now and peaking at the right time. I think we have all the pieces healthy and ready to go and we have a very good shot at the championship game.”
The Pugwash District High Lady Panthers are the third seed and open at 8 p.m. against Inverness.
Other teams include Baddeck, Drumlin and Ecole Sommet.
Ecole Sommet in Halifax is hosting the Division 4 boy’s tournament that includes both Pugwash and Oxford.
Pugwash is the top seed and opens at 6 p.m. against eighth-seeded Fountain Academy, while the sixth-ranked Oxford Golden Bears are in tough at 4 p.m. against third-ranked Cabot High.
Other teams include Ecole Sommet, Colchester Christian Academy, Cape Breton Highlands Academy and Lockeport.