The Silverthorn Spartans captured the 38th annual New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic at the Breton Education Centre gym on Feb. 8.
The tournament, considered by many to be New Waterford’s winter carnival, brought entertaining high school basketball action to the community during the weeklong event.
The tournament is focused on the 10 boys teams and sometimes forgotten are the three girls clubs, including the hometown BEC Bears, who participate each year.
This year the Bears were joined by Northumberland Nighthawks of Alma, Pictou County, and the Sydney Academy Wildcats. The Bears swept the two-game series with the Nighthawks with dominating victories and Sydney Academy also handled Northumberland in their only game.
While watching BEC against Northumberland, it wasn’t hard to tell the talent was good in the girls division. The Nighthawks were outscored 130-43 over the two games and it was really no competition for the New Waterford girls, but both teams had some very good players.
At the time, the thought of having a weeklong girls tournament, similar to the Coal Bowl Classic, came to mind.
The idea was proposed to local basketball fans. Would you support an all-girls tournament, similar to the Coal Bowl Classic, if it was offered at BEC?
Not surprising, the majority of responses was yes.
It’s understandable as to why it isn’t happening already.
The Coal Bowl Classic committee is a volunteer group and they dedicate a lot of time to the tournament. It’s a big project and there’s only so much time and so many volunteers to go around.
Another big question is would other teams be interested in taking part in such a tournament. We know there’s a wait-list for Coal Bowl, but would the same interest catch on for a similar girls tournament?
It may take a few years, but surely there would be teams wanting to allow their student-athletes an opportunity to take part in such an event.
When it comes to students missing time in the classroom, the ideal solution would be to have the tournament during the March break.
A March break tournament would also make sense as provincial tournaments tend to be over in early March. The tournament could become the final event of the basketball season.
It’s only an idea. It’s not to say a downsized tournament wouldn’t work. Another option would be having a four-day tournament, beginning on a Thursday and ending on Sunday.
Maybe the solution is right in front of us and it’s not a separate tournament. Maybe more girls’ games should be added to the annual Coal Bowl Classic, making the female teams a little more involved game-wise.
Another plus to having an all-girls tournament would be the scouting opportunities for university and college women’s teams. There’s no doubt post-secondary schools would have representation at the games for possible recruitment.
Who knows if a tournament like this will ever happen, but it’s certainly a conversation worth having among Breton Education Centre and Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education officials to maintain and grow female participation in sport.
Jeremy Fraser covers sports for the Cape Breton Post. If you have a column idea, sports story or would like to give feedback about this week’s Sports Chat, contact Jeremy by emailing email@example.com or follow @CBPost_Jeremy on Twitter.