Athletes urged to make most of provincials

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Junior high basketball players from Picture Butte High School hold banners for each of the teams competing in the 2A Girls Provincials.

PICTURE BUTTE – Just getting there is an accomplishment in itself, high school basketball teams heard at Thursday’s opening ceremonies for the 2A Girls Provincials.

“But getting there is not the end in itself,” said John Paton, executive director of the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association.

He urged players on 12 teams to make sure they enjoy the whole experience, adding Picture Butte High School (PBHS) has proven itself a worthy host in the past.

That message was echoed by others including musical guests Logan Reiter and Colten Murray. Both are PBHS graduates who played on the Kings provincial-winning squad of 2008-09. Although they both went on to play post-secondary basketball ­– Reiter at the University of Lethbridge and Murray at Lethbridge College – they suggested the athletes soak up the atmosphere over the next few days because they’ll never experience the same level of school spirit again.

They played several numbers for the students including “Lean on Me,”a tribute to all those who helped them get where they are today, and another about being proud of where you come from.

Paton offered a special thanks to the coaches as well as the officials, noting the “best officials are the ones you don’t notice.”

Trustee Craig Whitehead welcomed the athletes on behalf of Palliser Regional Schools. He told them to play hard, but remember sportsmanship at all times.

While the host PBHS Queens proudly wear blue and white, there was more than a touch of green in the packed gymnasium, which included students from nearby St. Catherine’s and Huntsville schools. Recognizing St. Patrick’s Day with her regalia, Picture Butte Mayor Wendy Jones said she hopes all of the teams would be touched with a “bit of luck.”

Junior high basketball players from PBHS ushered each of the teams into the gym, holding their respective banners aloft. Players, coaches, volunteers and spectators were all treated to a presentation put together by PBHS video technology students. Not only did it include a welcome to the school message, but also interviews with a number of players who answered everything from who inspires them most, to what colour they would be if they were a Crayon.

The tournament opened with four games Thursday, and action resumes 9 a.m. Friday. The host Queens play their first game Friday at 12:30 p.m. with Coaldale’s Kate Andrews High School seeing their first action at 2:15 p.m. The championship final is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

For more information on the 2A provincials, including a link to watch the action live stream, go to

There are other Palliser squads competing in provincials elsewhere. Kate Andrews will also be competing in the 2A Boys provincials in La Crete. They will be joined there by Heritage Christian Academy out of Calgary.

For more information on that event, go to