Hundreds of female high school basketball players will gather in Surrey next weekend to participate in Tessa’s Tournament, an annual event staged in memory of Tessa Beauchamp.
There will be 29 teams in three age groups participating this year’s event. While called a tournament, the weekend won’t produce a champion. Instead, the teams will play two to three games over two days while raising funds for the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation.
“It’s an opportunity where girls basketball is celebrated in all age groups. It’s not about winning, it’s about celebrating the sport of basketball,” said Steve Beauchamp, Tessa’s father. “There’s some competitive games in all age groups.”
Among the 10 senior teams competing are the third-ranked Riverside Rapids and the eighth-ranked Oak Bay Breakers of the Senior AAA category, and top-ranked Imaculata Mustangs of Kelowna and the sixth-ranked Vernon Panthers of the Senior AA division. There are also 11 junior teams and eight Grade 8 teams entered in this year’s event. Games will be played at Holy Cross High School, Surrey Christian High School and St. Matthews Elementary.
Tessa Beauchamp played high school basketball at Holy Cross, and was a member of several provincial teams. She died in January, 2102 after a lengthy battle with cancer. The Tessa Beauchamp Foundation delivers several scholarships each year for post-secondary education and funds mission trips to help those “facing educational and financial hardships.”
“We give $7-9,000 a year in scholarships,” said Steve Beauchamp. “We give a couple at the BC Catholic tournament, at the 26th Street tournament at York House (Secondary School), and at the (Surrey) Fire Fighters’ tournament. We also give a provincial scholarship, which any Grade 12 student in B.C. can apply for.”
All tournament entry fees go to the foundation, as do some of the referee game fees. Sports teams at Holy Cross are handling the timekeeping and scorekeeping, and bins at all three schools will be collecting sports shoes and other sportswear for a mission trip to the Philippines in early March.
Games begin at all three schools at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, running through to 3 p.m. at St. Matthews and 7 p.m. at both Holy Cross and Surrey Christian high schools.