The Salmon Arm Senior Golds basketball team began the new year with a win over West Kelowna’s Mount Boucherie on Jan. 8, winning 75-53 in league play.
Over the weekend, the Golds travelled to Vernon to compete in the Fulton Maroons Corporate Classic. Salmon Arm found themselves struggling coming off the Christmas break both offensively and defensively, finishing the eight-team tournament in fifth place however.
The Golds began the Fulton tournament well by defeating the home team 93-53 Thursday. Evan Smith led all scorers with 14 points, and Harold Valentin, who had nine points and five steals, was named player-of-the-game in the Golds’ first contest.
In Salmon Arm’s first game on Friday, the Golds came out flat offensively, which allowed the Coyotes from George Elliot (Winfield) to defeat the Golds 74-63. The Golds led most of the game, but couldn’t put enough separation on the scoreboard.
Once again, Evan Smith, who was named player of the game for Salmon Arm, led the Golds with 20 points. Silas Hecker added 13 points of his own and Gavin Limber had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
In Salmon Arm’s second game on Friday and third game of the tournament, the Golds continued to struggle with consistency as they faced the fourth ranked AAA team in the province, the Vernon Panthers.
Salmon Arm struggled defensively to pressure the ball, defend the bounce, and put easy points on the board offensively. In the end, VSS defeated the Golds 79-72. Gavin Limber, who was named Salmon Arm’s player-of-the-game in a losing cause, led the Golds with 18 points.
The Golds took Friday night to refocus, for Saturday’s final game against league rival Pen High. In a game that the Golds controlled from the opening tip, Salmon Arm competed and played tougher at both ends of the floor. In the end, the Golds defeated the Lakers 72 – 43. Daniel Wyss led Salmon Arm with 17 points, Alton Neid had 15 points and Evan Smith chipped in 11 points of his own in the Golds’ win.
In one of their busiest weeks of the season, the Golds hope to continue to get better and build on their play from the game against Penticton on the weekend, as they head to Kelowna to compete in a league game against the KSS Owls.
On Friday and Saturday this week, the Golds host their Invitational Tournament, kicking it off Friday morning against the Kelowna Christian Knights, who are ranked eighth provincially. Eight teams from throughout the Okanagan will be competing in the two-day, 12- game tournament.
To cap off a busy week of basketball, the Golds will play host to Penticton on Sunday, at 1 p.m. at the Sullivan gym. The matchup will be an important league game for the Golds, as a tough and athletic Lakers team will be looking to bounce back after the trouncing they took from the Golds at the Fulton Tournament.
Submitted by Aaron Smith.