V is for Vikettes, but it's also for Victory, and the ARHS Vikettes will be seeking victory this weekend when they try to repeat as NSSAF Division 2 provincial champs. The Vikettes are: (from left) Ryanne Belyea, Mia Furlong, Alexa Thompson, Ashley MacEachern, Emily Pipes, Natasha Gouchie, Paige Lewis, Danielle Young, Maitland Terrio, Lauren MacEachern and Lauren Chitty.
AMHERST - The Amherst Regional High School Vikettes have a chance to cement their legacy this weekend when they travel to Central Kings Rural High School and compete in the Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation Division 2 Girls Provincial Championships.
"We're defending provincial champs and we're seeded number one, so the other teams are going to be motivated to go out there and play against us," said Vikettes coach Gillian Ellis. "We'll definitely have to bring our A-game."
Ellis doesn't think that will be a problem.
"We absolutely want to repeat as champions," said Ellis. "We talked about goals at the beginning of the season and that was a big one. They want to win another championship."
The six-team tournament kicks off Friday at 2 p.m. with Amherst taking on the home team, Central Kings, and then they play Millwood at 6 p.m.
Who they play on Saturday depends on how those two games pan out.
"They bring intensity every day and work hard every day," said Ellis. "I feel like we're ready, all we have to do is go out there and execute."
Ellis says this year's team is one of the better teams (she's coached) with regards to cohesiveness.
"There's really good chemistry on this team. They push each other to be better and they've learned to be positive no matter what, whether it's close game or a blow-out game," she said. "They're a mature group, they just have to pay attention to details."
It will be the last high school basketball tournament for Grade-12 students Emily Pipes, Natasha Gouchie and Paige Lewis, who are all graduating at the end of the year.
Lewis said the girls are feeling ‘very confident' going into the provincials, and said the team has a lot of positivity and are very close.
"Last year was good too, but this is definitely the best team I've been on by far," said Lewis.
She said the team is like family and that she will miss them.
"It's upsetting but we're going to keep in touch."
Next year Lewis will attend the University of New Brunswick, where she will study science and kinesiology.
Gouchie is also attending UNB, where she will study science. Gouchie and Lewis will be roommates in Fredericton.
Gouchie said she will miss playing at ARHS.
"I love playing basketball," said Gouchie. "It's been a huge part of my high school years.
"This is the closest team I've been on. We all love each other. We're all best friends."
Gouchie, Lewis and Pipes have been playing basketball together since they were in Grade 7 at E.B. Chandler.
"We're quite close," said Pipes. "Tasha and Paige are going to a different university so I'm going to miss them.
"The whole team is really close. We're kind of like sisters, so I'll miss being friends with everybody."
Pipes is attending St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish.
"They have really good basketball players from across Canada," said Pipes. "I'll try out for the team but if I don't make the team I'll try out for intramurals. I'm going to miss the organized stuff."
Ellis said the team wants to play well for the graduates.
"They give a lot to the team, they give a lot to the school, and they give a lot to the community," said Ellis.
She is hopeful the Vikettes can repeat.
"I want the girls to put everything they've learned together and play three great games of basketball and, hopefully, bring home another banner."