Like they’ve been for much of the season, the Kelowna Owls will be the No. 1-ranked team heading into next week’s B.C. high school AAA boys basketball championship.
The official final rankings and provincial draw were released on Sunday afternoon, with the Owls at No. 1, Pitt Meadows second, followed by St. George’s (3), Walnut Grove (4) Kitsilano (5), Tamanawis (6), Terry Fox (7) and Vancouver College (8).
The Owls’ opening game next Wednesday, March 14 in Langley will be in the round of 16 against the winner of Tuesday’s preliminary round game between Yale and Point Grey.
With a victory, it’s conceivable the Owls would meet the Van College Fighting Irish in the quarterfinals.
Van College is the only B.C.-based team to have beaten KSS in 2012, 88-71 back on Feb. 17.
It was also the Fighting Irish who knocked off the Owls in the quarterfinals last year.
“Hopefully, if we see them, it’ll be payback time,” said Owls coach Harry Parmar. whose team went 1-1 this season against the Irish.
“But it doesn’t matter who you play or when you play them, you have to win four games to win provincials. We’ll be ready.”
KSS, which went 30-5 overall, has beaten every team ranked in the top six once this season.
Kitsilano and Walnut Grove are on the same side of the draw as the Owls and are expected to battle for a semifinal berth, potentially vs KSS.
The B.C. boys championship game will be played Saturday, March 17 at 8 p.m.
Meanwhile, the absence of two of their Grade 12 players didn’t stop the Owls from rolling to their second straight—and third in five years—Okanagan Valley senior boys basketball title.
KSS beat the host South Kamloops Titans 94-74 in Saturday night’s championship game.
The Owls were without 6-foot-11 post Braxston Bunce (leg injury) and guard Austin Axenty (ankle injury) for the final.
Valley tournament MVP and point guard Mitch Goodwin stepped up for the Owls with a game-high 35 points, while Joel Burma added 13.
Buzz Truss, who scored 12 points, fouled out in the latter stages of the game, but KSS showed its bench-depth with a convincing route of the Titans.
“With two of our top six out of the lineup, we had kids come in and really step up,” said Parmar. “Darrion (Bunce) played great, and Nevin Knezevic came in a did a really good job.”
If all goes as planned Parmar expects the Owls will have both Bunce and Axenty ready for the provincial championship, March 13 to 17 at the Langley Events Centre.