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Saint John prepares for Final 12 basketball

By Regis Phillips Feb 21, 2024 | 5:39 AM

New Brunswick’s high school basketball season concludes this weekend with the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association Final 12 in Saint John.

The tournament, now in its 37th year, features the top girls’ and boys’ teams from all divisions battling it out for their respective provincial titles.

Tournament Chair Dave Shiels said the NBIAA has been going through playoff basketball for two weeks. Sectionals took place last weekend and regionals the weekend before.

“The winner of sectionals comes to the championship. There’s basically six championships at the various levels, A, AA, AAA,” said Shiels.

The Final 12 was established in 1987 and took place in Fredericton for 24 years. However, in 2011, a committee was formed and TD Station in Saint John won a bid to host it.

The tournament begins on Friday evening with Harrison Trimble High and St. Malachy’s Memorial High playing in the AAA girls’ final, followed by St. Malachy’s and Kennebecasis Valley High in the AAA boys’ final.

On Saturday, it is Harvey High and Southern Victoria High in the A girls’ final, John Caldwell and Samuel-de-Champlain in the A boys’ final, St. Stephen High and Rothesay Netherwood in the AA girls’ final, and Fundy Middle & High and École Sainte-Anne in the AA boys’ final.

Shiels said since this weekend’s tournament is played at the same time as the Atlantic University Sports basketball championships, there is a chance of college scouts in attendance.

He also noted that tournament growth needs to be credited to local basketball associations, saying they built the grassroots of basketball’s popularity in New Brunswick.

“Of course, there’s the popularity of kids watching the NBA, and female basketball now has especially become super popular with Caitlin Clark and some of the other superstars representing the girls as well,” said Shiels.

“We’d like to have the community come out and support this event. It’s a huge event with lots of memories created, and we would like to have the Saint John community and New Brunswick community come out and support the event.”

You can watch the tournament in person at TD Station or livestream it through AO Live.

More details can be found by clicking here.