In five tries this season, the Kelowna Owls didn’t have an answer for the Walnut Grove Gators.
In the end, Harry Parmar’s team had to be content with being second best in B.C. 4A boys high school basketball.
On Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre, the Gators defeated the defending B.C.-champion Owls for the fifth straight time, 78-65 in the provincial final.
“We wanted to go back and win gold and the guys gave it everything they had,” said Parmar, who just completed 10th season as head coach of the senior boys program. “We had trouble with their size and just couldn’t find a way to beat them. It came to down just inches here and there, but that’s the way it is.”
Owls’ graduating guard Mason Bourcier, who was named the championship game’s top player, capped off a solid tournament and brilliant season with 29 points in the final. Fellow senior Owen Keyes, who along with Bourcier was named a tournament all-star, added 18 points.
Parmar said Bourcier, who also had a game-high 41 points in Friday’s semifinal win over Oak Bay, was the backbone of the Owls all season long.
“Mason opened a few more eyes at provincials and piqued the interest of some schools down south,” said Parmar. “He put the team on his back this season. After the players we lost from last year, he took it to heart and really showed his character. He was outstanding for us.”
With the likes of Parker Simson, Matt Lafontaine, Grant Shephard and Nav Sandhu leaving from last year’s championship, many wondered if the Owls would have the ammunition to once again contend for a title.
Parmar said his players stepped up to the challenge.
“Hats off to our guys for the year they had,” said Parmar. “It was a big accomplishment to get back to the final.”
As for the next season and the future of the program, Parmar believes the Owls continue to be headed in the right direction.
“I think we have a really good foundation and a philosophy of what we want to do here. You can’t always win but you can keep building, so that’s what we want to do.”
The Owls have won medals in each of the last three seasons at provincials—bronze in 2015, gold in 2016 and silver in 2017.