Thanks to a combination of a stellar season by student athletes and the generosity of alums, the South London Collegiate Institute senior boy’s basketball team will be representing London at the provincial championship next week. The senior boy’s team from South qualified for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championships in Windsor by winning the regional championships on Monday. The last time South’s senior boy’s basketball made it to OFSAA was in 2004.Head coach Stacey Farr said the coaching staff was confident about the team from the start of the season.“We knew that we were an OFSAA worthy team, and we put in the work after the Christmas break… to get better and become a more cohesive unit,” said Farr. Story continues below advertisement After recording only two regular season losses, South defeated Clarke Road Secondary School in city championships before moving onto the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association championships (WOSSAA) in the AA category.At WOSSAA on Monday, South took down College Avenue Secondary School 91-85 in the semifinals before defeating St. Joseph Secondary School 78-68 to advance to OFSAA.“Having this success is really exciting,” said Hayley Baker, a volunteer coach for the basketball team.While the success of the team was celebrated throughout South, a combination of the school’s stellar athletic season and the short turnaround between WOSSAA and OFSAA put the possibility of some players going to the provincial championships up in the air. Trending Now Along with the senior boy’s basketball team, the senior girl’s volleyball team and swim team also qualified for OFSAA this winter sports season.The school maintains a fund to help send students on trips like OFSAA, but South principal Margaret Sullivan said with the number of teams and athletes qualifying in the winter season, it was tough for South to fund everybody. Sullivan said the cost for the boy’s basketball team alone was over $5,000 in fees. Story continues below advertisement Following the school’s contributions, basketball players were still on the hook for $150, plus paying for all but one meal while away from home for the multi-day trip.Baker said a majority of the players came to the coaches saying the limited time between qualifying for and playing in OFSAA meant they could not afford the once-in-a-lifetime trip.“I quickly saw something that was supposed to be exciting for these boys become an area of stress,” said Baker.Given the limited time to raise funds, Baker reached out to various South alums to see if they could contribute to ensure all the players could travel to Windsor.In what she describes as a “very quick” response, Baker says alumni were able to contribute $1,800 for the basketball and secure every player’s cost was covered.“One amazing thing about South is that its alumni is very strong and see the value in sport,” Baker said.“They were very keen to give back and support the boys.”Sullivan adds that while the boys’ experience was never fully at risk, saying the school would have found some way to acquire the funds, the quick response from the alums is greatly appreciated. Story continues below advertisement The team did not know their schedule for OFSAA as of Thursday afternoon, only knowing they were guaranteed at least two games. The tournament runs from March 6-8 at Belle River District High School just east of Windsor. © 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.