The Augustana University Vikings defend their basket aginst the Capilano Blues on Saturday

The Augustana University Vikings defend their basket aginst the Capilano Blues on Saturday

Wild fun sweeps ‘Battle at the Border’

The second annual women’s college basketball tournament brought quality entertainment to Mount Baker Secondary this weekend.

Brad McLeod

With nine games  taking place between September 23 and 25, the second annual Wild Battle at the Border college basketball tournament was another great success for the Cranbrook basketball scene.

The tournament, which brings together women’s basketball teams from the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) that do not compete against each other in the regular season, pitted schools from all across B.C. and Alberta against one another in exhibition play.

The Concordia University Thunder, the University of Augustana Vikings, the Capilano University Blues, the Camosun College Chargers, the Ambrose University Lions, and the St. Mary’s University Lightning, all competed valiantly in the three day showdown.

Tournament organizer Al Nutini was thrilled with the level of competition he witnessed this time around and is eager to see the event grow in future years.

“All the games were really tight, except for maybe two [that] were a little bit bigger gaps,” Nutini said. “[But] most of [games] were within ten points and it was great basketball.”

Nutini thought that the addition of two more schools into the fold this year — pushing the tournament up to six teams — made the event even better than the last Border Battle, and said that his only disappointment is that more people couldn’t have come out to experience it.

“We’ve drawn [some] interest in the community in basketball [but] I really would’ve loved to have seen more fans out to these game,s” Nutini said. “It’s so economical to come and watch us, and it’s good quality basketball.”

The hope, according to Nutini, is to add a men’s tournament to the Battle next year and also use the College of the Rockies gym, which is more suitable for the college game. The COTR gym was the initial venue choice this year, but renovations forced Nutini to move the tournament back to the high school.

“Hopefully next year, we can use the college,  where they have the actual college [floor] lines, but I don’t think it changed the game at all, it’s quite fun in this size court as well.”

In addition to raising awareness for the sport of basketball, the tournament also used ticket sales to fundraise for both the Mount Baker Senior Girls’ Basketball program and the East Kootenay  P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) charity.

“I don’t know exactly how much money was raised,” Nutini said, explaining that it may not have been that sizeable of a dollar figure due to the cost of bringing in game officials, and that last year the event did not even break even. “Hopefully, we’re going to raise a few hundred dollars.”

For Nutini however, the tournament’s most important benefit is what it does for the high school girl’s team who were integral in organizing and running the entire weekend.

“That’s the whole purpose of what we do, [the girls] not only get to see this level of play but they also get to give back to their community and [learn how] to organize events,” Nutini said. “Those are the skills that we often forget about as coaches […] sometimes we have to teach those life skills.”



September 23, 2016

Concordia (49) vs. Capilano (41)

St. Mary’s (54) vs. Augustana (55)

Camosun (79) vs. Ambrose (64)

September 24, 2016

Camosun (65) vs. St. Mary’s (108)

Ambrose (65) vs. Concordia (72)

Augustana (61) vs. Capilano (53

September 25, 2016

Capilano (52) vs. St. Mary’s (76)

Concordia (65) vs. Camosun (67)

Augustana (90) vs. Ambrose (41)