Kelowna Owls’ guard Cole McAvoy battles a pair of Marion Graham opponents Saturday at KSS during the Interior Savings Western Canada Basketball Tournament. -Image: Douglas Farrow/Contributor

Strong finish for host Owls at West Can tourney

After two losses to start annual basketball tournament, KSS defeats team from Saskatoon.

Win or lose, playing in the Interior Savings Western Canada Basketball Tournament is a guaranteed learning experience for the host Kelowna Owls.

The 45th edition of the storied annual event was no different for Harry Parmar’s Owls who finished the always electric, pressure-packed weekend at KSS with one win in three games.

“I thought they handled themselves well,” Parmar said of his team’s response to the hype surrounding the event. “We just have to be better at executing than we were. We learned some things and saw what holes we have to fill, so we’ll continue to work on those.”

Ranked No. 10 among 4A teams in the province, KSS opened the tournament with an 85-63 loss to the considerably bigger Vincent Massey Trojans from Winnipeg. Parker Johnstone led the Owls with 18 points, while Matt Williamson and Cole McAvoy had 10 points each.

“We had trouble with their size,” said Parmar. “Luckily there aren’t any teams in B.C. that big.”

In Game 2 on Friday, the Semiamhoo Totems got the better of KSS with a 75-64 win. The Owls led by a point at the half but couldn’t deliver the offense when needed over the final 20 minutes of play.

“We had an opportunity to win, but just couldn’t execute down the stretch,” Parmar said.

Johnstone paced the Owls with 22 points, while Williamson had 14.

KSS finished the weekend on a high note with a 107-91 victory Saturday over the Marion Graham Falcons from Saskatoon.

Johnstone scored 20 points, Hunter Simson had 19 points and nine rebounds, while Williamson put up 18 points and nine assists.

Johnstone, a Grade 11 guard, led KSS with 60 points over the three games.

“Parker had a great tournament,” said Parmar. “He worked hard offensively, he worked his butt off on defense and he got rewarded for it.”

Edmonton’s Harry Ainley captured the 2018 title at WCBT, defeating Abbotsford’s WJ Mouat 77-61 in Saturday night’s final.

The Owls will now work towards preparing for the Okanagan Valley 4A boys Feb. 23 and 24 in Salmon Arm.

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