Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer Steven Hardy sinks a basket on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Junior Golds place third on the home court

Senior boys team struggles to keep up the pace at North Vancouver event

Fresh from their victories at the South Kamloops Invitational Basketball Tournament in Kamloops earlier this month and in their first regular season game against Pleasant Valley Secondary, the Junior Golds Basketball team faced fierce competition at home during the Junior Nugget Boys’ Basketball Tournament at the SAS – Jackson Campus this weekend.

“All teams showed real class with attitudes that exemplified sportsmanship,” said Junior Golds’ teacher sponsor Marie Peterson.

The Jr Golds started off the tournament against Valleyview Secondary from Kamloops on Friday afternoon with the support of a large home crowd. Unfortunately the Golds had just come away from a win against a much weaker team and took the first game to settle into a rhythm for the tournament. The result was a narrow 42-46 loss to the eventual tournament winners.

The Golds’ increased their focus and intensity in their second game, against Kelly Road from Prince George, and were easily victorious, beating them 79-32.

The win against Kelly Road put the Golds into their final match competing for third place against George Elliott Secondary from Lake Country. Once again the Salmon Arm squad dominated the competition, winning 55-30.

“Throughout the tournament the Jr. Golds team demonstrated real cohesion as a team with impressive ball movement against opposing defenses,” Peterson said.

The Golds led the tournament in total points scored but also demonstrated strong defensive play, holding their opponents to the least points scored against them. While Steven Hardy led the Golds in scoring and his consistent play throughout the weekend anchored the team, their success so far this season is rooted in strong team play.

“The junior boys are a great group of guys and a pleasure to coach,” said the team’s coach Matthew Peterson.

The final match up in the competition for first place between Valleyview secondary and Vernon Christian school came down to the wire with Valleyview narrowly sliding to victory – 51-49 was the final score.

The Junior Golds were back in action hosting Kalamalka in league play on Dec. 12 after the Observer’s press deadline.

Senior Golds

The Salmon Arm Senior Golds basketball team were on the road competing in the No Regrets Tournament held in North Vancouver this past weekend.

The 16-team senior boys’ tournament played host to two of the top ten teams in the province – Fifth-ranked Handsworth and Kitsilano who are ranked ninth; as well as several other strong teams from around the province.

The Golds began the tournament last Thursday night by defeating Sturgeon Heights, a 4A school from Winnipeg 91-51. Silas Hecker and Jackson Mayes led all scorers with 21 points each, while Evan Smith chipped in 10 points. In their second game, the Golds took on tournament-host Carson Graham. The game went back and forth in the first half, and saw the Golds down 31-33 at half-time.

Head coach Aaron Smith said the game was a great character builder for the young Golds, who were able to stay within five points until halfway through the fourth quarter against the more experienced and faster Eagles. Despite showing tremendous grit and determination, the Golds lost 61-72.

Noah Vieria-Shay led the Golds with 12 points, while Alton Neid added 10 points of his own.

In the Golds final contest, it was the win-or-go-home game against Charles Hayes from Prince Rupert. Win, and the Golds would move on to the fifth and seventh place game. Lose, and the Golds would get an early start back to the Shuswap.

Once again, the Golds began the contest strong by keeping pace against a team that started three BC Provincial Team players. At half-time, the Golds found themselves feeling good about their chances at only two points behind for a score of 35-33.

In the second half, turnovers, physical size and toughness became Salmon Arm’s Achilles heel.

In the end, the Golds could not keep pace with the Rainmakers and lost the contest by 13 points, 57-70. The Golds were led by Daniel Wyss who knocked down four of five three-pointers and ended the game with 14 points. Silas Hecker, Evan Smith, and Alton Neid each chipped in eight points for the Golds.

Up next, the Golds will travel to Kelowna this weekend to compete in the OKM Senior Boys’ Tournament.

The Golds’ next home game is on Tuesday, Dec. 19, when they play host to the Mount Boucherie Bears.

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