Some of the most promising senior boys basketball players in B.C. will be in Saanich for the UVic Vikes Basketball Alumni tournament in the CARSA gym, Dec. 28 to 30.
Saint Michaels University School Blue Jags are hosts for the holiday hoops tournament, which also features local teams the Lambrick Park Lions and Oak Bay Bays. Visiting from Washington state are the Ballard Beavers, the Kingston Buccaneers (Kitsap) and the Vashon Island Pirates. Also visiting are Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators and Edmonton’s Harry Ainlay Titans.
All games are at CARSA. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students.
The tourney is sponsored by former Reynolds Roadrunner and SFU star Greg Wallis, who runs the Passion Sports basketball camps and apparel company.
“I hope this is the first of many others to be held here at the university,” Wallas said. “Eight high-quality teams and some outstanding players should provide three days of real entertainment.”
The tournament starts with Walnut Grove vs. Kingston at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Lambrick goes next at 4:45 p.m. against Ballard.
Lambrick, the No. 7-ranked AA team, boasts the athletically gifted Somers twins, Austin and Calvin.
Oak Bay, the No. 9-ranked AAAA team, faces Vashon Island at 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by the last game of the opening day, the Blue Jags vs. Harry Ainlay at 8:15 p.m.
SMUS are ranked the No. 1 AA squad going into the high school season but play has been up and down so far, despite a talented and experienced roster, said coach Ian Hyde-Lay.
The Blue Jags boast returning guards Jamison Schulz-Franco and Ryan Hindson from last year’s provincial finalist team. The Blue Jags are finding their way without Quinn Ngawati, the six-foot-five pivot who was called to wear the maple leaf in an end-of-year U19 rugby series vs. the U.S.
“Last year we played two of the SMUS Invitational games at CARSA and it was a great success,” Hyde-Lay said. “With the Vikes alumni growing its chapter, the support of [Vikes athletics and recreation director] Clint Hamilton and Greg Wallis, it’s a great fit.”
The timing is also right to get U.S.-based teams to travel over to the Island, Hyde-Lay said.
“It’s rare that you get U.S. teams here at any time, but to get three in one tourney, it’s great,” Hyde-Lay said.
Former Vikes basketball player and alumni leader Phil Ohl has as vision to grow the tournament as a regular feature in the calendar, Hyde-Lay added.
Winners from Day 1 will play again on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 6:30 and 8 p.m. (while the losers will play at 3 and 4:45 p.m. The seventh-place game is 9 a.m. on Friday, the fifth-place game at 10:45 a.m., the third-place game at 12:30 p.m. and the first place game at 2:15 p.m.