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Hoop prospect Chase Tynes sad to see season slipping away

'I can understand where both sides are coming from,' says Chase Tynes of the contract dispute between the province's public school teachers and the provincial government. But that doesn't change his longing to see the Auburn Drive Eagles back in action.
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Auburn Drive basketball star Chase Tynes will be playing for the University of Ottawa next year. (TIM KROCHAK / Local Xpress)

The basketball season is slowly draining away from Chase Tynes.

Dartmouth's Tynes, like so many Nova Scotia high school athletes, finds himself idled by a contract dispute between the province's public school teachers and the provincial government. A work-to-rule campaign has brought a halt to school sports, most notably basketball and hockey.

Basketball fans may remember Tynes as the most valuable player of Team Nova Scotia's Canadian under-17 basketball championship last summer in Manitoba, where Nova Scotia defended the title it won the year before. He was part of both gold-medal teams.

The 17-year-old Auburn Drive forward also made some news this week as the Ottawa Gee-Gees announced they had recruited him for next fall. One of the country's top recruits, he's expected to be a contributor as a freshman.

But this was his time to shine on the Nova Scotia hardwood. The Auburn Drive Eagles are perennial provincial contenders with this year being no different.

The team isn't allowed to practise, so there's some rust building up. While he knows where he will end up in Canadian university basketball, many of his friends have yet to be signed and have no place to show their skills.

For Tynes, the aggravation grows with the uncertainty. Talks resumed this week, but without a change in status quo the high school basketball season will be lost.

"It's kinda messed up," Tynes said this week. "It's not been resolved yet, and yet I can understand where both sides are coming from."

Auburn Drive is coached by Jim Bowes and Curtis Coward. Neither are teachers.

Basketball Nova Scotia has proposed a league to keep the players active through the rest of the winter, but it is believed players and coaches joining the BNS league would be prohibited from returning to high school play if the labour situation is resolved.

Auburn Drive played three league games and two tournaments before the suspension of play last month.

"We've got our (BNS) team ready," said Tynes. "We're saying if the BNS league works out, you might as well use that league instead of the high school league. But if the high school league comes back, they are saying whoever plays in the BNS league won't be able to play high school basketball again.

"Our (high school) team was playing one tough team after the next and we were beating those teams. Our team was ready to play and I felt we were going to win it all this year. It sucks that this happened."

For Tynes, it is more than what has been lost on the basketball court.

"The school atmosphere ... all the students come out and support our games. We have a packed gym every home game. Even away games, we'll have one side full of one school and our school will come and support us and make as much noise as possible."

Tynes had choices where he wanted to land in university. Coaches got to see him as part of the Nova Scotia provincial program and not just on the high school floor.

It's not the same for everybody.

"I have a player on my team who's a pretty good player, but he hasn't had that exposure because he hasn't played on any of those summer teams. Only a couple of coaches have looked at him."

Tynes was a hot property and coaches came from far and wide to watch him play. That gave his teammates a chance to make an impression, too. That's gone now.

"It's kind of hard for some guys in Grade 12 that aren't getting recruited as hard as other guys," he said.

As for himself, he'll be ready when Ottawa opens camp in the fall. But that won't heal all the wounds if the high school season doesn't resume.

"I'll just feel like I've missed out on something," he said. "We didn't get to do what we needed to do."



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