Valley’s best showcased at UBC Okanagan

Top junior and senior basketball players in the Okanagan gather for all-star games hosted by the Heat on Saturday

The UBC Okanagan Heat men’s and women’s basketball programs will host the 2014 Okanagan High School basketball all-star games this Saturday at the gym on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

For the sixth straight year the Heat’s home court will house four separate all-star games as the best players from the Okanagan Valley in both the junior and senior divisions will look to challenge themselves against the other top players.

Kicking things off will be the top junior girls at 3 p.m., immediately followed with the best junior boys taking the main court at 4:30 p.m. The evening will bring out the senior all-stars; the girls will tip-off at 6 p.m., and the senior boys will slam home the day’s event with an 8 p.m. tip-off.

Since 2009 the UBC Okanagan men’s and women’s basketball programs have hosted this event and have seen numerous players graduate from the All-Star game to wear the Heat uniform, or continue to play basketball at competitive levels all the way up to and including the NBA.

Last year Alex Hart starred in the senior boys’ game scoring 29 points, the highest total on the day. This past season he was a freshman forward for UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA Division I.

Julia Reichert was a four-time attendee of the Interior All-Star game and was player of the game last spring, this past season Julia toiled in the paint on the very same floor she enjoyed success as an All-Star as she suited up for Heather Semeniuk’s Heat squad in Canada West.

The tournament’s biggest success undoubtedly has to be Kelly Olynyk who played in this game in 2009 as a representative of South Kamloops. Last June he was drafted by the Boston Celtics and has upgraded his All-Star experience from the UBC Okanagan experience to the NBA’s Rising Star Challenge, the tip-off to NBA all-star weekend in New Orleans this past February.

The driving force behind this weekend’s all-star event, Heat women’s coach Heather Semeniuk has once again worked many hours to ensure its success. She has just completed her 20th season coaching women’s basketball at the Okanagan campus of UBC and is always looking to promote the game of basketball in the valley, and finds this event one of the best ways to do so.

“This All-star game is worth every minute of the time we put into it,” says Heather, “and it all goes into celebrating a group of people that deserve to showcase their efforts on the court. Every All-star player has worked countless hours to get to this level, and from here they can see where this sport could potentially take them. There is no limit—Kelly Olynyk played at this event and now he is in the NBA.”


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