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Okanagan basketball teams compete at Jr. Boys Provincial Championship

Vernon, Rutland, Westsyde and Summerland each had victories over the weekend
Westsyde’s Quinn LaRoche (#4) is defended by a Heritage Woods Kodiaks defender, during second round action at the B.C. Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Championship tournament in Langley. (Howard Tsumura Photo)

On Saturday, 32 teams began their quest of claiming the Jr. Boys B.C. Basketball Provincial Championship banner.

By Sunday night, just four teams remained in the hunt for the trophy, as the cutthroat tournament came fast and furious at the Langley Events Centre.

Four Okanagan teams were in the tournament, and although none are still on the winners side of the bracket, there were some impressive victories.

The top-ranked Okanagan team, the Westsyde Whundas (Kamloops) were ranked fifth in the province, after beating the Vernon Panthers in the Valley Championships last weekend. They were victorious in their provincial opener, winning 72-39 against the 28th seeded Correlieu Coyotes from Quesnel.

In their round-of-16 bout, the Whundas, despite 21 points from Cason Scott, were upset by the 12th seed Heritage Woods Kodiaks out of Port Moody 67-59. Westsyde then suffered another heartbreaker, losing by just one, 63-62 to the Lambrick Park Lions from Victoria. They will play the Yale Lions for their next match on Monday, with the winner then playing for the 13th/14th placement in the tournament.

The second ranked team out of the Okanagan, the Vernon Secondary School (VSS) Panthers, came into provincials ranked as the 15th seed. They dropped their opener to the Elgin Park Orcas 62-50. The defeat shimmied the Panthers to the loser side of the bracket. However, they bounced back against the L.V. Rogers Bombers from Nelson with a resounding 57-36 win where they held the Bombers to just two points in the second quarter.

The Panthers third game, against the Centennial Centaurs out of Coquitlam, was a defensive battle that eventually went the Centaurs way, 45-42.

Vernon will play the Pacific Academy Breakers on Monday for the right to play for the 21st and 22nd placement game on Tuesday.

The Summerland Rockets, ranked third out of the Okanagan, was the 20th seed in Provincials. They dropped their opener to the 13th ranked Lambrick Park Lions 57-67. However, much like Vernon, they rebounded in their second game, defeating the Lord Byng Grey Ghosts, 55-52.

On Sunday, the Rockets would lose 70-58 to the Windsor Dukes from Vancouver. Monday will see Summerland face St. Michael’s University School for the chance to play in the 21 and 22 placing game, potentially against the rival Panthers.

The final Okanagan team, Rutland Voodoos, squeaked into provincials, ranked just 25th. They had a rough beginning to their tournament, losing to the St. Patrick’s Celtics 75-44, then dropping a 59-56 decision to St. Michael’s University School.

The Voodoos would defeat the last ranked hosts, R.E. Mountain Eagles in their third game, 79-44. On Monday, they will battle the Lord Byng Grey Ghosts.

To keep up-to-date on all results from provincials, visit the BC High School Basketball website. Games will continue until Tuesday.

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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