Vancouver, BC - Collingwood Neighbourhood House. The end of a basketball season generally comes with feelings of nostalgia. Over the course of a season there are challenges, triumphs, and personal growth among the players and coaches. For staff like Girls League Coordinator Riya Talwar, that is amplified when looking at the league as a collective.
Saturday June 22, 2019 marked the finale of the Night Hoops Girls Season, and a memorable season it was. Night Hoops mixed all the right ingredients for a successful girls league: female-led (Staff and Coaches), schedule so it does not compete with the High School season, and recognizing the personal triumphs of coaches and players.
The Championship Event was highlighted by the third place game between Thunderbird Community Centre and Hastings Community Centre, an inspirational speech and demonstration from the Vancouver Police Department Women’s Personal Safety Unit, and the Championship game between Strathcona Community Centre and Trout Lake Community Centre. The event culminated with a moving awards ceremony.
In the 3rd place game, Thunderbird had a very gutsy performance for a team who were on average two years younger than the Hastings team. Hastings could not be stopped when attacking the basketball off the dribble. On any given day, Hastings could beat any team in the league. They sure finished strong.
Constable Alison Gailus and Inspector Yee proved to be amazing storey-tellers and had the girls captivated with stories of female empowerment, awareness, and owning your space. The girls were instructed to stop saying sorry so often for simply being in their own space. It is their space. At times, excuse me will do.
The Championship Game once again proved that the Strathcona Basketball program is one of the best in the province. Trout Lake battled so courageously without any reinforcements on the bench. At one point one of the girls took an elbow to the neck, shook it off, and kept playing for her team. Strathcona was just too strong and they sent waves of talented girls down the court of the fast break. Another well-earned Championship for the Strathcona girls. Somewhere above, Eric Ming was looking down and cheering.
Special recognition goes to the Champlain Heights Community Centre Team for winning the Team Spirit Award; to Shirley Lockhart and Suzanne Zhen for winning the Outstanding Coach of the Year Awards; and to Daniela Lara from Hillcrest Community Centre for earning the $500 Night Hoops Scholarship.
All-in-all, this was an outstanding event and season. The Staff team, Riya Talwar, Divya Talwar, and Aman Jhutti should be very proud of what they pulled off. The girls loved every minute of it.