Owls battle Sardis in provincial basketball opener
Buzz Truss and Cooper Simson are among four Kelowna Owls who are heading into their final week of high school basketball.
With that in mind, the KSS seniors hope they've saved their best for last as the B.C. 4A boys' championship tips off Wednesday in Langley.
Truss, the Owls' captain who has experienced the atmosphere and intensity at two previous provincials championships, says its vital for his Owls to play focused, composed basketball.
"Mental toughness is definitely something that you need because of all the energy and hype coming into the tournament," said Truss, who graduates along with Simson, Eli Cato and Liam Duncan. "We just need to be able to focus on the goal ahead and not get too caught up in the moment, and don't play worried or scared about missing shots."
The Owls, ranked 10th in the province, will battle No. 7 Sardis Secondary in the round of 16 on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
The teams met early in the season, with Sardis winning by 14 points.
Still, Simson said the Owls have improved as the season has progressed and expects KSS to give Sardis all it can handle.
"We've seen them, so that's going to help us," said Simson. "We have different styles in that we're a little smaller, faster and like to shoot more, where they're a big team and pound it inside a lot more. I think it's a good matchup, both teams have a good chance, but if we play our game, I think we can come out on top. We've practised a lot lately have been in a lot of tough games, so I think we're ready."
Truss agrees the Owls have come a long way as a team since January, including turning in a solid performance last month at the Western Canada Basketball Tournament.
KSS beat No. 4 Walnut Grove by 10 points, then pushed No. 6 Holy Cross in the final before falling by 12 points.
"It's always a big boost to know we can defeat some of the top teams in the province and compete with them," he said. "Hopefully we can bring the energy that we did in the Western Canadian tournament and come up with some big shots because I know our team can play with the best."
Owls' coach Harry Parmar, who will be leading KSS into provincials for the eighth straight year, said success for his squad will come down to two fundamental elements.
"Composure and execution," he said. "We need to play with composure, and also do what we're supposed to do out there—execute offensively and defensively. If we do that, we should be OK."
If the Owls can get past Sardis, they would play the winner of No. 2 Gleneagle and No. 15 Prince George on Thursday afternoon.
The championship final goes Saturday, March 15 at 8 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.