Jackson Mayes keeps his eyes up for passing options while he moves around a Rutland Voo Doos defender during the Golds’ final home game Feb. 5. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Senior Golds basketball team take second at Okanagan Valley Championship

Hard-fought effort puts a cap on a historic season for Salmon Arm team

In a much anticipated Valley Championships this past weekend, the SAS Senior Golds’ Basketball Team claimed a second place finish after a loss to the Owls from Kelowna.

The team travelled to Rutland Secondary in Kelowna in hopes of bringing home the title for the first time since 2004. In their first match of the semifinals on Friday night, the Golds competed against Mount Boucherie Secondary Bears.

Full of nerves, the Golds struggled in their first game and found it difficult to establish any rhythm but began to pull away in the fourth. Led by the hot shooting hand of Alton Neid, who had 21 points, and the slick scoring skills of Silas Hecker, who had 20 points of his own, the Golds eventually defeated the Bears 88–70 and secured their spot in the final against the KSS Owls.

Read More: Senior Golds enter Okanagan Valley Championships as top-ranked team

Contributing to the Golds’ scoring attack, Gavin Limber added 10 points against the Bears, while Daniel Wyss had nine points from the three-point line, and both Darian Sundby and Noah Jansen chipped in eight points of their own.

With a game plan to keep the aggressive Owls in a half-court game, the Golds did a good job executing their plan. Leading at the midway point in the third quarter by ten points, Salmon Arm was able to keep Kelowna in check for much of the game.

However, early in the fourth Kelowna edged out a lead off the hot-shooting hand of Malcolm Greggor, who hit nine three-pointers in the game for the Owls, and Kelowna was able to make some easy transition points due to turnovers.

Seeing their lead slip away, the Golds found themselves down 82–90 with five minutes left. The Golds got the score within four points but couldn’t get the shots they needed in the end, falling to Kelowna 97–91.

Read More: Junior Golds take third in Valley Championships

With the loss, the Golds’ season came to an end just shy of provincials. Evan Smith led the Golds and all scorers in the final game with 34 points. Gavin Limber, who played with great competitive effort in the final, recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds; Alton Neid added 11 points and Noah Jansen had 10 points in the loss.

Recognized for their outstanding play on the court during the Championships, Salmon Arm had two Golds named to the Tournament All-Star Team. Both Alton Neid and Evan Smith were named as First Team All-Stars. Malcolm Greggor (KSS), Hunter Simson (KSS), and Brandon Porter (RSS) were also named as First Team All-Stars. Parker Johnstone, from KSS, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Although the weekend didn’t end in victory, the Golds showed that senior boys’ basketball is back on the map in Salmon Arm.

With the success of this year’s Seniors and the success of the Jackson Junior Team at Provincials, the future looks bright. The Senior Golds made people take notice of Salmon Arm basketball this year in the provincial standings.

With a 26 – 9 record, the Golds ended up top of the Okanagan Valley League for the first time in over 15 years, and making it to the valley final. They also won three out of the seven tournaments they competed in, including two of Western Canada’s premier tournaments: The REB at Jasper Place High School in Edmonton and the Western Canada Tournament in Kelowna.

Coaches Keith Limber and Aaron Smith are extremely proud of the young men who made up the SAS Senior Golds Basketball Team this year and the commitment they showed.

Submitted by Aaron Smith

Read More: Senior Golds climb rankings after Western Canada tournament


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

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