The Quest Kermodes men’s and women’s basketball teams had their last league game of the season on Saturday, February 18 against the Capilano Blues. As is tradition, all graduating players and their families were honoured in the Seniors’ Ceremony,. Held between the two games, five outstanding student-athletes were recognized: Tessa Needham, Noah DeRappard-Yuswack, Paul Getz, Dallas Searles, and Theo Vandenekart.
Women’s basketball coach Dany Charlery began his speech about his only graduating player, captain Tessa Needham, by warning that he may get emotional. Charlery continually emphasized Needham’s unparalleled work ethic, as well as her impressive return from a career-threatening back injury last season. Charlery, in a sportsmanlike gesture, also gave flowers and a short speech to Capilano’s only graduating senior, Amber Kavanagh. “It was a bittersweet night,” said Needham in a written message.
New to Quest this year, men’s coach Alex Van Samang provided first impressions and personal anecdotes about his four graduating seniors. A dual-sport athlete who broke the Kermode record for number of rebounds in one game, Noah DeRappard-Yuswack’s collected and focused demeanor made him a leader on the court. Paul Getz has been a starter for the team since his first year, making the PacWest All-Rookie team in the 2013-2014 season—foreshadowing his continually crucial presence on both offense and defense. For Theo Vandenekart, Van Samang praised his kindness and genuine heart, and called him the “purest” shooter in the entire league. Dallas Searles led the Kermodes and nearly topped the PacWest leaderboard with 20 points per game, and was recently featured on the PacWest’s All Access podcast.
Although the women’s team lost to the Blues 77-68, they made an impressive comeback from Cap’s 20 plus point lead in the first two quarters. “I was proud of how we played in the second half,” said Needham. The Blues women sit first in the PacWest, with a record of 16-2 (wins-losses), and the Kermodes fifth, with a record of 8-9.
The men’s team upset the Blues by a close margin of 93-90. Blues and Douglas College sit tied for third in the league with records of 10-8, and the Kermodes fifth with a 6-11 record. “Last night was very exciting,” said Searles in a typed statement. “The game was back and forth at the end, but I’m happy we were able to win.”
Managing a demanding athletic schedule along with Quest academics is no easy feat, but the graduating players have gained so much from their involvement in sport. “The Quest community is very close, and that translates to our team,” said Searles. “I’m a very introverted person by nature, but Quest has brought a lot of good people into my life.”
Needham appreciated the opportunity to commemorate her four years at Quest, but said the energy of Seniors’ Night will only bring “further motivation” heading into playoffs. Quest is hosting the upcoming PacWest basketball Provincials March 2-4, and the home court advantage is exciting for both teams. “The Quest fans make every home game memorable,” said Searles. “They have been the most supportive fans I’ve had in my playing career…[and] give us energy when we need it most.”
All photos taken by Barbara Fernandes