NBIAA Final 12

Plenty Of History Surrounding The Final 12

So, you think you know your New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association Final 12 trivia, eh? Without using Google, name the initial winners of the Final 12 from way back in 1987. Cue the Jeopardy music now.

There have been a few different formations to decide championships over the years from Final Eight to Final 12 and other earlier incarnations of classification level basketball. It’s certainly a celebrated event today, but in order to get to 2017, there had to be previous winners.

Back in 1987, there was the familiar AAA, AA and A levels of classification and the championships were decided at the Aitken University Centre. The AAA girls’ champions that season were the Bathurst High Phantoms. Woodstock High Thunder (nee Warriors) won the AA class and A champions were the Harvey High Lakers. On the boys’ side, Kennebecasis Valley Crusaders were champions, Woodstock won AA and Petitcodiac Regional High Panthers nabbed the A title.

There certainly is some remarkable history linked with the championships. Games have been played with wild blizzard conditions raging outside, Cinderella stories, dynasties and a litany of other facts and figures as the province prepares to celebrate 30 years of Final 8/12 championship memories.

The Final 12 is set for Saint John’s Harbour Station Feb. 24 to 25. Saint John started hosting the championships in 2011 when it was the Final 8. In fact, it was a Final 8 from 2009 through 2011 before expanding.

Some of the interesting tidbits from the championship tourney through today include a 1988 A girls’ title to the Canterbury High Celtics. They liked winning so much, the Celts won again a year later. There are familiar school names all over the championship map.

The Fredericton High Black Kats boys and girls teams have combined to capture 39 AAA titles and one AA crown in girls in 1988, the same year the AAA crew won it all. You don’t see that anymore. Woodstock has 18 titles including one in A for the girls’ team of 1990. Hartland High Huskies won four straight A girls’ championships from 1994 to 1997. The Huskies also won a title at the Final 8 level in 2009.

Basketball hotbeds such as Fredericton, Woodstock, Florenceville-Bristol’s Carleton North High Stars, Hartland, Harvey, Petitcodiac and Grand Manan have their fingers all over banners.

There were other runs like the Tantramar Regional High Titans of Sackville tearing off three straight boys titles from 2002 to 2004 and the girls teams sharing jubilation with banners in 2004 and 2005.

John Caldwell School Golden Knights of Grand Falls have shown title prowess over the years and has won the last three A girls games at Harbour Station. Grand Manan Breakers have won at the boys and girls levels, sharing titles at the A level in 2007 and 2008. Another provincial Island-based team, the Campobello Vikings won back-to- back boys banners in 2001 and 2002.

There have been some one-offs over the years, but those title banners hang proudly in the school’s gymnasium to this day just like those with multiple wins.

Those schools include Caledonia High Tigers of Hillsborough (A girls, 2013), Tobique Valley High Panthers of Plaster Rock (AA girls, 2010), Sugarloaf Senior High Bruins of Campbellton (AA boys, 2010), Rothesay Netherwood School Riverhawks (girls AA, 2011), Devon Park Christian School Eagles (AA boys, 2011) and Rothesay High Red Hawks (girls AA, 2013).

Right now, the brackets are empty for the Final 12. Teams will fill them this weekend and a gymnasium will be making room for new banners very soon.

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