The Semiahmoo Peninsula’s three public schools are set to renew a friendly rivalry on the basketball court next week, as Rivals Week tips off for the fourth year.
The annual three-game series – which sees senior boys hoops teams from Semiahmoo, Elgin Park and Earl Marriott square off – begins Monday, when the three-time Rivals Week champion Semi Totems take on the Mariners at Earl Marriott. On Tuesday, the Elgin Park Orcas travel to Semiahmoo’s gym to face the Totems, and the round-robin series wraps up Wednesday, when Marriott plays the Orcas at Elgin Park.
All three games are set for lunch hours at the respective schools, in order to give students a chance to take in the action.
“It’s a good opportunity for the students to show off some school spirit,” said Semiahmoo coach Ed Lefurgy. “And it gives the gyms a chance to play in front of a big crowd.”
Semiahmoo has won the Rivals Week trophy in each of the previous three years; last year Elgin Park opted not to participate, so a one-game showdown was staged between the Totems and Mariners.
Captains of both Earl Marriott and Elgin Park – Ben Layton and Tre Leclaire, respectively – were both hoping to put an end to Semi’s run of victories this season, and both suggested the raucous atmosphere in the gym can help spur a team to victory.
“It’s a cool experience, playing in your gym with so many people there,” Layton said.
Leclaire was excited to take part as well, in his final year of high-school basketball.
“The crowd really gets you pumped up, and we’ve got a better team this year, so it should be good,” he said.
Regardless of the outcome, Lefurgy said the games provide a great experience for all involved.
“It’s a bit different than your average game, and in five, 10 years when these guys look back, these are the types of games they’ll remember,” he said.
Lefurgy’s captain, Tower Li, echoed his coach’s thoughts, and was looking forward to hitting the court against crosstown rivals he’s grown up playing against.
“I remember back to Grade 8, playing these guys and battling with Ben and Tre,” he said. “So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”