Jackson Mayes of the SAS Golds looks to finesse his way around a KCS defender during their game in the Golds’ Invitational Tournament, Jan. 18. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Senior Golds climb rankings after Western Canada Tournament

First time since 2002 that Salmon Arm team has qualified for national rankings

The Salmon Arm Senior Golds Basketball Team had a good showing at the Western Canada Tournament, earning an honourable mention as they rose up the ranks.

The tournament was hosted in Kelowna Feb.7-9, bringing teams from across the western provinces to compete. It was the first time since 2002 that a Salmon Arm Golds’ team competed in the prestigious tournament and the Golds rose to the occasion.

In Salmon Arm’s first game, the Golds faced the top ranked team from Alberta, the Jasper Place Rebels. Knowing they were going to face a tough test, the Golds started the game well and matched the Rebel’s intensity at both ends of the court. The Rebels changed their defensive pressure, and the Golds began to struggle.

In the end, the Golds fell to the Rebels 89 to 66, and Noah Jansen led the Golds with 14 points. Jackson Mayes added 13 points, Gavin Limber had 12 points and Evan Smith rounded out Salmon Arm’s scoring with 11 points of his own.

In Salmon Arm’s second game they faced Oak Bay from Victoria. The Golds focused their defense on provincial team guard Diego Maffia, who in the first game of the tournament scored 57 points against Vincent Massey from Winnipeg. In the end, the Golds held on to an 84 to 71 victory, with Evan Smith leading with 25 points. Jackson Mayes had 15 points, Silas Hecker had 14 points, Gavin Limber had 10 points and an outstanding 20 rebounds, while Noah Jansen added 10 points of his own.

This victory moved the Golds into an Honourable Mention in BC’s 4A current rankings. Although Salmon Arm allowed Maffia to score 38 points, in the end the Golds fared the best out of the three teams that played against Oak Bay in the Tournament.

Read more: Salmon Arm Secondary Golds win basketball tournament against league rivals

Read more: Salmon Arm Golds sting Vernon’s Fulton Maroons

In Salmon Arm’s third and final game, the Golds competed against Cardston, the third ranked team in the Alberta 4A ranks. With the lead changing throughout the first two quarters, Salmon Arm found themselves tied at the half 41–41. The Golds began to lose their intensity late in the match, allowing Cardston to push to an 81 to 61 victory. Gavin Limber led the Golds with 17 points, Evan Smith added 15 points, and Jackson Mayes chipped in 12 points of his own in the loss.

The Golds had no time to relax after the Western Canada Tournament, as they headed to West Kelowna Feb. 13 to compete against the Bears from Boucherie. In a game that was key to league placings, the Golds competed with two key players sidelined due to illness and injury.

The team crawled their way to West Kelowna on icy roads, pulling out a victory at Mount Boucherie 98 to 81. Leading all scorers in the game was Evan Smith with 38 points. Gavin Limber recorded a double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, Alton Neid had 15 points coming from five makes behind the arc and six assists, and Noah Jansen added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 8 steals.

With the win, the Golds remain tied with Kelowna for first place in league. The next big event on their agenda is the Valley Championships, Feb. 22-23 at Rutland Secondary, in Kelowna.


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