The Interior Savings Western Canada Basketball Tournament tipped off this
weekend and aside from the usual suspects that frequent high school basketball
events, three out-of- province teams joined the squad to take on the best that the
west has to offer.
Marion Graham Falcons – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
The Falcons flew all the way from the prairies to participate in this event. Head
coach Dan Dewar says this is the first time in his coaching career that he’s travelled
with a high school team via plane.
“It’s a great experience for the guys…to come out to the premier tournament in
British Columbia for high school basketball is special,” he says.
This isn’t Dewar’s first rodeo.
Between basketball and football, he’s been coaching for 29 years at both the high
school and university level. Outside of Marion Graham, Dewar has found a home
with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Lucky for him, his two nephews play
for each respective team.
“I’ve probably needed them more than they’ve needed me.”
Just five years ago, Dewar’s brother John passed away from cancer. By coaching both
of his nephews, he’s been able to hold on to the connection that he had with his only
“He was the best big brother anyone could ever have,” says Coach Dewar. “It’s very
therapeutic for me to keep in touch with the boys. I’m not a father figure for them in
any way, but it allows me to work with them. I could never replace my best friend,
yet it’s a great way for me to keep that contact.”
Alexander Dewar, a 6’3 point guard for the Falcons, has played for his uncle since
Grade 9 and recently signed with the Huskies, as well. Coach Dewar is more than
happy about Alex’s decision to join his older brother Addison at the University of
“I think he made the right choice, with having the family tradition and his dad
having played for the Huskies. He’s going to have another career now and he’ll be moving on. He’ll continue playing and I’ll still get a chance to coach him,” says
Coach regards Alex as a very calm and collective player, but still has some final
advice for his youngest nephew as he embarks on his next journey:
“I’d say to just enjoy the moment when he plays,” he says. He gets to play with his
brother again and they actually bring out the best in each other. So enjoy that
Vincent Massey Trojans – Winnipeg, Manitoba
This will be the Trojans first appearance ever in the Western Canada Basketball
Tournament. And while they have never taken part in this specific event, head coach
Nick Lother is proud to be the one to take his team to a tournament of this caliber.
“We were honoured to get the invite. Some of the boys that have been involved in
the program that were graduating were a little bit disappointed, but we were very
fortunate for the first few groups that I had that sort of put in the work for us to get
this invite. The boys that are here know that they’re here representing the guys that
sort of came before them,” says Lother. “So it’s certainly an honour and we’re very
excited to get the opportunity to play at such a high level.”
Lother started coaching in 2012 at the University of Winnipeg and then was hired
on as a teacher at Vincent Massey Collegiate.
“I’ve been doing the basketball program for four years and am proud of where the
Trojans are this season.”
Coach Lother regards this tourney as one that will help his team improve within
their own league. Though the goal is always to win, he emphasizes that the Trojans
will use this as an opportunity to fix their flaws and prepare for the tough
tournaments back home.
“We’re here to get better and to play some highly competitive basketball teams.”
Aside from basketball itself, Lother hopes the team will take the time to bond with
“It’s a great opportunity for the guys to get together and to deepen their
relationships on the team. A lot of it has to do with things that are away from
basketball and I think the boys know that.”
Harry Ainlay Titans – Edmonton, Alberta
Even though Alberta borders British Columbia, the Titans rarely come to the
Western Canada tourney.
“We honestly don’t ever choose to come here unless we think we have a chance to
win,” says George Hoyt, head coach of the Titans. “If you’re not here to be in the hunt
for it, it can get embarrassing real fast.”
Hoyt has 22 years of coaching under his belt – with 12 years at Harry Ainlay. He’s
even coached at the CIS level at both UVIC and the University of Alberta. Hoyt
believes this tournament is essential to the team’s overall success this year.
“It’s one component in our process to be provincial champions.”
Regardless of the competition at hand, Coach Hoyt truly appreciates the school spirit
and sportsmanship from the Kelowna Owls and their fans.
“One of the great things about this tournament is there’s always such a warm
welcome. I remember when we were fortunate enough to win the one year, there
was a gentleman, must have been 85, he walked over and shook my hand, and he
said, ‘You know, you have a great team.’ And he meant about the quality of play, not
Hailing from BC himself, Hoyt enjoys being able to catch up with old friends and
fellow coaches around town. The whole vibe allows for his team to share in
anunforgettable experience with other teams that they don’t always have an
opportunity to play against.
“There’s always such a warm, welcoming feel. They just want to see good basketball
on the court and it doesn’t matter where you’re from. [Everyone’s] excited to
compete and also be a spectator, as well.”
Harry Ainlay is the only out-of-province team to make it to the Interior Savings
Western Canada Basketball tournament finals. Catch them tomorrow night at
Kelowna Secondary School against Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Hawks. Game time is
Written By: Crystal Scuor