The last time many of these players were on the court, their game ended with tears.
This time out, every player should walk away wearing a smile.
The B.C. High School Basketball All-Star game hits the UBC War Memorial gym floor on Saturday, providing a long list of accomplished players in both the senior boys and girls circuits a chance to signoff.
Although the game will present a different kind of test for their competitive mettle, the focus at least for one senior girls coach will be to make sure they enjoy it.
"My main goal is I want them to have fun," remarked Centennial Centaur head coach Rob Sollero, who was tabbed to coach a team.
"For many of them, the last game wasn't a pleasant experience or left them feeling down. This is a great way for the kids to cap their [high school] careers."
Sollero's squad features 13 Grade 12s from Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A levels, selected primarily from provincial all-star and honourable mention lists.
His lineup includes a pair of Riverside Rapids - wing/guard Laiken Cerenzie and guard Michelle Spacek.
The opposition - coached by long-time New Westminster coach Doug Woodward - includes Gleneagle's Jamie McLaughlin, Archbishop Carney's Colleen O'Mellin, and Rapids' Natalie Carkner and Megan Sherwood.
Although Sollero hasn't met all the players on his team, all are well-deserved for their selection, he noted. Those he does know well are players who had impressive senior careers.
"Laiken is a very versatile player and she's worked very hard over the years to improve her game," said Sollero. "She's always been a very determined player.
"Michelle is an incredibly quick and very sound defensive player, a good shooter who is a force at the front and back of the court."
In recent years, the organizers tried to pit Single-and Double-A players against a team of Triple-A players. That plan has been scrapped and each team is a mix of graduating players from all three levels.
It'll provide a sparkplug like O'Mellin, and six-foot-five Ruth Hamblin from Single-A Houston Christian, a chance to show their chops alongside their Triple-A linemates.
"I think it's great that they've tried to balance out the teams this year," noted Sollero. "Offensively we'll just play motion and get all our girls involved- For me, it's an honour to be invited to coach."
Last year, he was in the stands watching as his daughter, Lauren, wrapped up her high school career in the all-star game before embarking to college with the University of the Fraser Valley.
The senior boys Triple-A provincial champion Terry Fox Ravens' lone representative will be patrolling the sidelines, as coach Steve Hanson will skipper one team.
The lone player from District 43 is six-foot-six forward Mitch Ligertwood from Heritage Woods.
The senior girls game tips off at 1: 30 p.m. on Saturday, followed at 3 p.m. by the boys game. Tickets for the double-header are $10 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Kids seven and under are free.
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