Coming off a big win in the Gary Taylor Classic on Saturday, the Oak Bay Bays are a contender going into the fourth annual Senior Boys Basketball Invitational, starting Saturday morning at the University of Victoria’s CARSA Performance Gym.
This year’s 10-team field is very strong and has drawn teams from across the province and one from New Brunswick, the Fredericton Black Cats.
The tournament is organized by the UVic Vikes men’s basketball alumni chapter and will feature many future U-Sports and collegiate players.
“Fans are in for a treat,” said Phil Ohl, chair of the alumni chapter. “And with the Vikes varsity men’s team also playing two exhibitions as part of the weekend, there is something for everyone.”
Oak Bay starts at 10:45 a.m. Saturday against the Vernon Panthers. It’s a barometer for the Bays, as they compete in AAAA this year and Vernon opened the season ranked No. 1.
Playoffs run Saturday afternoon and Sunday, with the third-place final at 2:15 p.m. Monday followed by the championship game at 4 p.m.
The UVic basketball alumni tournament has become an annual holiday fixture for high school teams. It was inspired by a pair of games from SMUS’ 2015 holiday invitational that was hosted in the new CARSA facility. SMUS and UVic basketball alumni then collaborated to move SMUS’s annual holiday tournament to UVic in 2016, though the former hosts are not competing this year.
The Bays are among the top Island contenders having won their own Gary Taylor Classic last week. The Bays defeated Cowichan 118-49, then Dover Bay 73-49, and then St. Peter’s from Alberta, 88-80 in the final. Dover Bay finished third at the Gary Taylor, Belmont Bulldogs fourth and Vancouver College sixth. All three will be at UVic this weekend.
They’ll be joined by the Claremont Spartans, GP Vanier Towhees, Centennial, Vernon and Ross Sheppard of Edmonton. Centennial is on the verge of another powerhouse season and is among the top AAAA-ranked teams in the province.
Centennial and Fredericton have opening-round byes. The latter will face the winner of the Panthers and Barbarians at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday. Centennial will face the winner of Belmont and Ross Shephard. The Fredericton game follows a UVic Vikes men’s match against visiting Grant McEwan at 5:45 p.m. on Friday.
The tourney is also a chance to get a look at future UVic Vikes forward Ethan Boag. The 6-foot-8 post is a provincial team player who already committed to UVic for next year. He’ll open the tourney against G.P. Vanier (Courtenay) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Annual visitors Vancouver College bring a deep, talented roster, that will contend for a provincial AAAA title come March, said co-organizer Ian Hyde-Lay, who was part of the Vikes championships teams in the early 1980s.
The tournament is co-sponsored by Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission, RBC Dominion Securities, and UVic Student Recruitment and Global Engagement, Ohl said.
“Otherwise the tournament could not take place,” he added.
Tickets to the UVic tourney are $25 for an adult tournament pass and $12 for a day pass. That’s $12 for a student tournament pass and $5 per day. Children under six are free.
UVic Vikes Alumni High School Invitational Schedule
Saturday, Dec. 28
9 a.m. Game 1 Belmont vs Ross Sheppard
10:45 a.m. Game 2 Oak Bay vs Vernon
12:30 p.m. Game 3 Claremont vs GP Vanier
2:15 p.m. Game 4 Vancouver College vs Dover Bay
4 p.m. Game 5 Winner Game 1 vs Centennial
5:45 p.m UVIC Vikes vs Grant MacEwan
7:45 p.m Game 6 Winner Game 2 vs Fredericton
Sunday, Dec. 29
10 a.m. Game 7 Loser Game 3 vs Loser Game 4
11:45 a.m. Game 8 Loser Game 2 vs Loser Game 5
1:30 p.m. Game 9 Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 6
3:15 p.m. Game 10 (semifinal) Winner Game 3 vs Winner Game 5
5 p.m. UVIC Vikes vs Grant MacEwan
7 p.m Game 11 Winner Game 4 vs Winner Game 6
Monday, Dec. 30
9 a.m. Game 12 Winner Game 7 vs Loser Game 9
10:45 a.m. Game 13 Winner Game 8 vs Loser Game 7
12:30 p.m. Game 14 Winner Game 9 vs Loser Game 8
2:15 p.m. Game 15 (3rd/4th) Loser Game 10 vs Loser Game 11
4 p.m Game 16 (1st/2nd) Winner Game 10 vs Winner Game 11
5:30 p.m. Tournament Presentations