Gryphons ready for Anse MacDonald tourney
Northumberland also taking part in two-day, six-team event
The North Nova Gryphons and Northumberland Nighthawks will open the 2018 Anse MacDonald Invitational high school boys basketball tournament on Friday.
The Nighthawks, coming off a second-place finish at a tournament in Moncton, defeated the Gryphons in NNEC’s home opener, and those two squads will begin the weekend tournament with a 2 p.m. game at the NNEC gym.
The Gryphons have only one Grade 12 player on their roster – Layton Williams.
“Layton has been our leader,” says assistant coach Aaron Smith.
“We have a number of Grade 11s who’ve been with us now since Grade 9, and guys in Grade 10 and two Grade nines.”
Williams said he enjoys being captain of the team.
“There’s a lot of energy and they like working together,” he said of working with the younger players.
“I’m pretty vocal and I like to get them in the mood to play hard. They’ll all listen and I know I play hard and show them that if I play hard, they should play hard as well.”
The long-time tournament is named in honour of Anse MacDonald, a New Glasgow resident who for decades has been a tireless builder of basketball in Pictou County.
“When I played high school basketball and even when (NNEC head coach Robbie MacGrgeor) played high school, we would have played in tournaments that Anse put together. Anse had a lot of impact over the years. The tournament means a lot to me personally.”
The Gryphons are hoping to get strong crowd support from local basketball fans.
“People should come out and enjoy themselves and watch some good high school basketball,” Smith said.
Williams has played in the Anse MacDonald Invitational
since his Grade 9 year.
“This is the fourth year I’ve been a part of this,” he said. “It’s always super-good, always well organized. Just having a home tournament really brings a lot of attention to the school. It really amps you up when there’s a crowd there – it really gets your blood going. It’s always nice to look up and see a bunch of people in the stands.”
The NNEC Gryphons practice on Monday as they prepare for the Anse MacDonald Invitational basketball tournament.