Top Teams from BC, AB, & MB Bring the Heat to Kelowna for the 2019 Western Canada Basketball Tourney
Updated: Feb 9, 2019
Ah, it’s that time of the year again where the provincial championships are looming. But we’re not here to write about that just yet. Instead, half of the Hub crew hit up K-Town for the Interior Savings Western Canada Basketball tournament, featuring teams from all over British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. The 46th annual event started with a BANG: one team found redemption from last year while the hosting school lit up the court in the game of the day.
Get to know all of the teams participating this year and be sure to watch our highlights from Day 1 directly below, too:
Currently sitting as a honourable mention in the BC Boys 4A rankings, the hosting Owls had an epic first day matchup against the visiting Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds from Alberta. The Battle of the Birds went to the Owls, led by head coach Harry Parmar, with stars Hunter Simson and Parker Johnstone racking up 26 and 23 points, respectively.
Kelowna defeated Ross Sheppard 92-73 and will duke it out with reigning provincial champs the Burnaby South Rebels in the semi-finals.
Oak Bay Bays
The little squad from Victoria—ranked 6th in the province—went on a rampage against the Vincent Massey Trojans on Day 1, but unfortunately could not keep the momentum going till the end. However, sharpshooter Diego Maffia had an insane 54 points for his team. Maffia swiped POG honours for his wet performance on the court.
Oak Bay fell to the Trojans 97-89 and will play the Salmon Arm Golds in the non-competitive bracket at 1:45pm on Friday.
Burnaby South Rebels
These Rebels (currently 2nd in BC) have a whole lot of bark—and the bite to back it up! They came out to an outstanding lead in their first round against the Cardston Cougars, hitting bucket after bucket. Add to that a few dirty dunks and it’s easy to see why this team won the provincial championship in 2018. Size definitely matters with these boys and Sasha Vujisic proved that with 27 points for his team.
Burnaby South defeated the Cougars by a gnarly 78-55 and will play the hosting Kelowna Owls in the semi-final game of the day at 7:30pm.
Salmon Arm Golds
Currently unranked in the province, the Salmon Arm Golds had a tough matchup against visiting Jasper Place from Alberta. Though they were defeated 89-66, the team boasted a well-rounded group with four players hitting double digits. Noah Jansen and Jackson Mayes led with 14 points each.
The Golds play Oak Bay at 1:45pm.
Vincent Massey Trojans – Winnipeg
Currently ranked # 1 in Winnipeg. Vincent Massey came to the Western Canada’s last year and finished fifth, losing to Oak Bay in the third place game. It’s only their second time ever competing in the tournament. Head coach Nick Lother is in his fifth year with the team and says it’s an honour to be a part of this event.
The Trojans defeated the Oak Bay Bays on Day 1 by 97-89, avenging their loss last year. They will take on the other Rebels of Alberta (Jasper Place) in the first semi-final game on Friday at 5:15pm.
Cardston Cougars – Alberta
Currently ranked 3rd in their province, the Cardston Cougars are from a small town in Southern Alberta that boasts only 3500 people, with 500 from Cardston High. Considering the Cougars compete with schools the size of 3000 students, they have made it to the provincial finals 7 out of the last 13 years.
Head coach Jamie Atwood says they’re just small country and farm boys “giving it all they got”.
“We were in a really tough tournament last weekend. We ended up getting third in that. This is high quality ball—very high quality ball…a lot of big guys. There’s not as many big guys down south in Alberta, but it’s nice to compete against these big, tall, quick guys.”
The Cougars lost to Burnaby South 78-55 and will play Ross Sheppard in the non-competitive bracket at 3:30pm.
Jasper Place Rebels – Alberta
Just like our Rebels from Burnaby, the Jasper Place Rebels are provincial championship contenders at the moment sitting at 1st overall in Alberta.
Head Coach Matt Burrows—who has been with the Rebels for the last seven years—says the group has 10 seniors competing at the WCBT, but is missing their star shooter who even played for Team Canada.
“This is actually a really good win for us to play without him. He’s a 30-40 points a game guy for us. So this is really…it’s just good for to play without him, as well,” said Burrows.
He says the boys enjoy the tournament competition, yet also praise the atmosphere as something that they try to mimic back at home, too.
“We try to make it like a kind of special atmosphere like they do here and that’s what we really enjoy about [the Western Canada Basketball Tournament],” he said. “You know the whole school comes together…it’s just a really fun atmosphere. So just to kind of be involved with that, that’s what kind of makes these events special for kids, right? And I think that they’ll always remember that.”
Jasper Place faces Vincent Massey in the first semi-final game at 5:15pm.
Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds – Alberta
And lastly, the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds (from Edmonton) came into the Western Canada’s as a honourable mention in their province. The T-Birds had a rough matchup against the hosting Kelowna Owls in the first round, losing 93-72.
Even though Ross Sheppard were unable to claim a W on Day 1, head coach Dave Youngs says the Thunderbirds have been very successful back in home territory.
“Generally, we’re one of the top teams in Edmonton. Over the past 20 years, we’ve got five provincial championships,” said Youngs.
With a ‘young’ squad, Youngs own son, Grayson, put up 20 points for his team while Max Petryk sunk 25. Coach credits the tournament atmosphere and says the event is a great learning experience for the Thunderbirds.
“The atmosphere in here is awesome. I love having the student section on the end there. It’s always awesome to come to this tournament and that’s why I like coming.”
Ross Sheppard takes on the Cardston Cougards at 3:30pm.
Keep it locked to our YouTube Channel and Instagram stories for all the semi final action happening today!
Written by: Crystal Scuor