TRURO - Since their junior high days, members of the Cobequid Cougars girls basketball team have dreamed of winning a provincial title on their home court in their senior year of high school.
It looks as if the stars could be lining up.
The NSSAF Division 1 championship gets underway today when the Cougars open at 6 p.m. against Halifax Grammar at CEC Gymnasium. But more importantly for their dreams, the No. 4-ranked Cougars hold an 18-11 overall record and are 9-2 in 2013.
"We always said we wanted to host provincials our senior year," Cougars point guard Brittany MacKay said.
"There's no words to describe how it would make us feel (to win)," added teammate Samantha Strickland. "It would be nice to give the school another title to hang up there with the other ones."
Along with fifth-ranked Halifax Grammar, Cobequid will be up against the No. 1 Citadel Phoenix, Horton Griffons (2), Lockview Dragons (3), Riverview Reds (6) and Memorial (7). Winners move on to Friday's semifinal matchups with losers competing for placement. The final is set for Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Cougars, especially a core group of four players - MacKay, Strickland, Ryann McNamara and Julia Davis - know how to win. The players won a provincial title at the middle school level and a regional crown in their Grade 9 year at Bible Hill junior high.
"We've just been a strong group of girls," MacKay, an 18-year-old Bible Hill resident, said.
The group has been an important part of the Cougars success this season. After rolling through the early part of their schedule around the .500 mark, the Cougars got hot in the new year and enter provincials playing their best basketball.
"I think it's going to help us a great deal because the girls confidence is very high," coach Paul Dennis said. "Since January, we've been healthy, the girls are playing really well defensively."
It showed in the Northumberland region final as the Cougars trounced the Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals 82-37.
"That was a huge confidence booster," Dennis said. "I really believe they know they're on a run and they're confident going into provincials."
Division 1 boys
The CEC boys also have their sights set on bringing home a banner from their tournament at Memorial Composite High in Sydney Mines.
"I don't think you go to these things not expecting to win, but obviously that's every team's goal," head coach Marc Roberts said.
The Cougars are also ranked No. 4 and carry a 15-9 overall record into the event. They open against the No. 5 Prince Andrew Panthers today at 8 p.m. Citadel, Dartmouth, Horton, Sydney Academy, Auburn and Memorial are also in the field.
Roberts said although his team has played steady defence all season, it'll be key for the Cobequid offence to get contributions from everyone in order to be successful.
"We're going to have to have multiple players score the basketball," he said. "Typically at this point you're scouted so well that they're looking to shut down those primary options."
Division 3 boys
The South Colchester Academy Wolves will make history this weekend at the Division 3 championship.
The tournament marks the first time SCA will compete at the provincial championship in the school's 10-year history.
The eight-team tournament begins today at Annapolis West Education Centre in Annapolis Royal.
The Wolves are the sixth seed and will open against the No. 3-seeded Hants North Flames at 8 p.m.
Other teams competing include East Antigonish (1), Shelburne (2), St. Mary's Bay (4), SAERC (5), Carrefour (7) and Annapolis West (8).
The Wolves advanced to provincials after posting a 2-0 record at a qualifier last weekend in Dartmouth.