No amount of snow, poor weather, or other delays were able to stop the community from welcoming the McLeod Series back to the Southeast. 

Between Estevan and Weyburn's games, the 87th McLeod Series drew large crowds, packing the stands of the two gymnasiums. A rivalry that's been brewing for 87 years found a new champion Thursday night, with the ECS Elecs taking the title for the first time since 2017. 

"[It's] good to see [that] the competition is really good back and forth with volleyball and the basketball. The McLeod series is historically a longer series sort of things, so it's good to see. It's good to see both teams back in," ECS faculty member Craig Palmer said. He added that it's good to see the series back for another year between the two cities. 

While COVID-19 paused the series a few years back, last year's contest was cancelled due to the heightened emotions and threatening behaviour lobbed at the players, coaches, and other faculty involved. The fans have always been passionate for both teams, but the intensity is different this time around. 

"I told the boys before the game that this is the biggest crowd they'll probably ever play in front of. It was loud in here. The referees were even saying 'if you need to timeout, just step on the court' because it was so loud. They couldn't hear when we wanted timeouts, they couldn't hear the buzzers, [and] what the referees were saying. It was a lot of fun to be here," expressed Elecs Sr. Boys Head Coach Trevor Dutka. 

"High school sports is an amazing thing," Dutka added.

The athletes left everything on the court between the two games. In response, the community showed up with intensity and vigor for the long-awaited matchup. 

"These athletes put it all on the courts and they're very deserving. I know it's memorable for all of those students to play in front of those fans. And yeah, it was super exciting to watch," said ECS Principal James Jones.

ECS Sr. Girls Heads Coach Jessie Smoliak noted that alumni were in the stands to cheer on the local team. 

"I know it's been ongoing and obviously 87 years of this, but it's just so cool to see the different ages and the alumni just come out and continuously support these new athletes, even to the sport. There's a couple of girls on my team that have never played basketball before they hit Grade 9. It's just really cool to see so many alumni in the stands."

Smoliak adds that she's hopeful for a bright future ahead for her young squad. 

The support from the community was evident from both cities. Many parents of the student athletes made the trip down Highway 39, including Scott and Michelle Wade from Weyburn. 

Scott and Michelle Wade cheering on their daughter, #15 Carlee Wade of the WCs EaglesScott and Michelle Wade cheering on their daughter, #15 Carlee Wade of the WCS Eagles, in Game 1 of the McLeod Series. (Lemuel Alquino/DiscoverEstevan)

"I appreciate that we've controlled the negative and we want to keep it positive. It's just a fun thing that we do, and it needs to stay positive," Michelle said.

"I mean we're sister communities about the same size, great people [in Estevan], great people in Weyburn and [it's] just a fun atmosphere. So, we just really enjoyed it very much," Scott expressed. 

Both parents said they wouldn't miss the McLeod Series for the world.

Weyburn Mayor Marcel Roy highlights the community spirit is alive and well between the neighbouring cities. 

"It just promotes a lot of community pride. That rivalry between Weyburn and Estevan, and we've got it between our Red Wings and Estevan Bruins, and now this. It's just very good to build community spirit."

A long-standing tradition between a rivalry that's rooted within the community concludes for another year. 

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