GRAVENHURST — Lookout London, the Gryphons are back.
The defending GBSSA boys senior basketball champions is headed to southwestern Ontario Sunday for the OFSSA provincial championships, after beating Barrie’s Unity Christian School 48-37 last Friday.
And the best team in Georgian Bay two years running, with a 12-3 record, is ready for the challenge says their coaches.
Thursday night they had “the best practice we’ve had all year,” said assistant coach Jennifer Schandlen.
And the Grade 11 and 12 students are feeling good and are “focused” and “pumped” about their chances of making it to Wednesday’s finals, said head coach Gillian Humphries, who is on mat leave, but still coaching the Division A team (schools with under 500 students).
The 14th-seeded in the province opens round-robin play Monday against 8th ranked Villanova College (TDCAA champs) in the second game of the 20-team tournament, after arriving Sunday for an all-teams banquet.
Humphries says the team needs to “get off to a quick start,” to set the tone to advance, after they lost three close games at last year’s OFSSAs when they were ranked 19th.
After finishing the regular season 8-1 and narrowly losing (54-50) their Muskoka-Parry Sound league championship to Huntsville (Division AA), the Gryphs are a much more experienced and comfortable team heading into their second provincial championship, said Humphries.
They will be joined by a couple of family members who will be cheering them on, including Humphries’ 5-month-old son, Ben, and his grandparents Hal and Judy Humphries.
Fellow students at GHS gave the team a sendoff Friday with a big banner and announcements in the morning.
They and their parents and Gryphons fans can follow the team at the OFSSA Divison A website at https://www.ofsaa.on.ca/boys-basketball
Last year, said Coach Humphries, the games were streamed live.