How popular have the B.C. senior girls basketball championships become? This season's Quad-A final between North Delta's Seaquam Seahawks and the Riverside Rapids of Port Coquitlam was so popular that the game was played before a standing-room only sell-out crowd at its Centre Court complex. (Photo by Ryan Molag property Langley Events Centre-TFSE 2024. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

B.C. girls high school basketball will celebrate 75th provincial championships in 2025 at LEC by playing all of its Championship final games on the big floor of Arena Bowl!

LANGLEY — B.C. high school basketball’s championship season is coming off what may well be its most comprehensively attended back-to-back-to-back provincial tournaments.

And while the walls at the host Langley Events Centre seems to still be reverberating almost a full week after their completion, the long-whispered rumours about a key venue change for one of those tournaments has just recently become official.

Next March, the 2025 B.C. senior girls basketball tournament will begin what it hopes is a new chapter in its continued growth and popularity, celebrating its 75th anniversary by having its entire Day 4 championship final menu of title games at 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A tiers all contested in the LEC’s Arena Bowl, the longtime home of the B.C. senior boys Quad-A championship tournament.

The senior boys tournament has its Quad-A tier playing all of its games in Arena Bowl over the first two days of the boys tournament. On Day 3, the semifinals for both Triple-A and Quad-A are played there, in advance of all four tiers playing their B.C. finals on the big floor on Championship Saturday.

The girls are taking that first big step by moving the Saturday portion of its four-day tourney into the same venue, also the home of the Vancouver Bandits and the Vancouver Giants.

“Needless to say, I am ecstatic because it’s one step forward,” said Bobby Braich, the longtime head coach of Abbotsford’s Yale Lions senior girls varsity program, and the driving force behind the movement.

“Unless you break through and break that glass, so to speak, nothing else comes from it,” added Braich. “So hopefully we can build on this, make it a major event .. grow the game.”

“I am hoping one day that we can have the entire (four days of the) tournament (utilizing) Arena Bowl, at least for the equivalent tiers like they do on the boys side,” continue Braich. “I think it’s long overdue and despite the odd naysayers, and there are a few of them — not that they are concerned that the girls don’t deserve this, but just concerned that spectator turnout for girls isn’t as big as it for the boys — I always say to them that you have to build it and they will come. I am hoping we can continue to build the sport.”

Throughout the process, Braich has worked hand in hand with the two parties involved and says everyone who has played a part in the decision to move forward on Arena Bowl as a championship site appreciates what it represents in the next big step forward for girls high school basketball in this province.

Victorious Seaquam players celebrated post-game their win over Riverside in the 4A final. Whoever wins it all next season will be taking the part inside the LC’s largest complex, the Arena Bowl… home of the boys finals and the Vancouver Giants. (Photo by Ryan Molag property Langley Events Centre-TFSE 2024. All Rights Reserved)

“I’ve been involved with thorough and positive conversations with Jason Winslade at the LEC, and Harp Sohi at B.C. School Sports,” said Braich, “and I am thoroughly satisfied that they are on board to bring this forward, not withstanding the concerns of growing the attendance for the marquee event. It’s that simple. We’re going to do everything in our power to work with LEC and B.C. School Sports to bring this full circle… so it’s as big as the boys finals.”

As we said off the top, the 15-day window (Feb. 24-March 9) in which the B.C. junior boys (Feb. 24-27), B.C. senior girls (Feb. 28-March 2) 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A championships, and the B.C. senior boys (March 6-9) 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A championships occupied the LEC this season, might be the greatest proof ever that B.C. high school basketball has never been more popular as a spectator sport.

The junior boys had a sell-out in south court for its Terry Fox vs. St. Patrick’s championship final, the senior girls played to near full capacity throughout its championship Saturday, including a full and complete sell-out in Centre Court for the 4A title tilt between Seaquam and Riverside, and ditto for the senior boys, who by the time the 4A title game between Spectrum and Tamanawis tipped off just this past Saturday, had for a second straight season, produced a standing-room only sellout in Arena Bowl.

 “We have to jump in somewhere, so here we are, 75th anniversary… there can’t be a bigger arena, a bigger theatre, a bigger milestone than to jump in at the 75th and begin this process,” concluded Braich of plans for next year’s senior girls event. “And that goes back to my original quote… if you build it, they’ll come.”

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