High school basketball: Kelowna Owls to play for B.C. gold on Saturday night

The Kelowna Owls advanced to Saturday night’s B.C. high school boys 4A basketball championship. Vancouver Sports Pictures

The Kelowna Owls are one win away from claiming their second provincial championship in five years.

At Langley, Kelowna defeated Handsworth of North Vancouver 84-54 in Friday night semifinal action and advanced to the championship game of the B.C. high school boys 4A basketball tournament.

On Saturday night, starting at 8:15 p.m., the third-ranked Owls will square off against the top-ranked Burnaby South Rebels for provincial glory.

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Against Handsworth, the Owls outscored the Royals 49-26 during the second and third quarters to blow open what had been just a four-point game.

Hunter Simson and Ajay Gill, each with 16 points, paced the Owls’ attack.

In the other semifinal, Burnaby South downed No. 4 Vancouver College 69-52.

Heading into Saturday’s final, both Kelowna and Burnaby South have been rolling through the competition, with each team sporting a plus-111 point differential through three games.

Earlier, Kelowna defeated Frank Hurt 105-34 and Claremont 94-82, while Burnaby South downed Mount Baker 95-41 and Oak Bay 89-49.

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At last year’s tournament, Kelowna fell in the final, 91-86 to Lord Tweedsmuir, while Burnaby South placed third. Lord Tweedsmuir defeated Burnaby 75-64 in the semifinals.

Burnaby South also won the tournament in 2018 and, win or lose, will post a top-three finish for a third consecutive year.

Kelowna has also done well recently, having won bronze in 2015; gold in 2016; plus silver in 2017 and 2019. This weekend’s result will be the Owls’ fifth medal in the past six seasons.

Concerning head-to-head meetings, the Rebels are 2-1 against the Owls this season, having defeated Kelowna 76-62 in November and 82-58 in February. Kelowna won 78-77 in December.

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Vernon Panthers settle for fourth-place finish

The Vernon Panthers had to settle for a fourth-place finish at the 3A provincial championship.

On Friday, second-seeded Vernon had a shot at returning to the final for a second straight season, but couldn’t sink third-ranked G.W. Graham in a stinging 50-49 semifinal loss.

The Grizzlies scored a baseline jumper for the winning basket, while Vernon couldn’t score on its two subsequent possessions in falling to G.W. Graham.

Then on Saturday, Vernon lost 68-65 to Sir Charles Tupper in the bronze-medal game. Isiah Ondrik led the Panthers in scoring with 33 points.

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In the 2019 championship game, Vernon lost 46-44 to North Delta.

G.W. Graham will now play top-ranked Duchess Park of Prince George at 6:30 p.m., in the gold medal game. The Condors defeated No. 4 Sir Charles Tupper 61-43 in the other semifinal.


George Elliot finishes in 6th place

The George Elliot Coyotes of Lake Country had the Okanagan’s highest finish at the boys 2A tournament with a sixth-place finish.

On Saturday, 14th-ranked George Elliot lost to No. 9 St. Thomas Aquinas in the game for fifth and sixth place.

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In other action, No. 8 Princess Margaret of Penticton fell 71-56 to No. 3 Southridge and finished in 10th place.

Also, Clarence Fulton of Vernon placed 11th on Saturday morning, as the No. 13-ranked Maroons defeated No. 7 D.P. Todd of Prince George.


Kelowna Christian captures bronze medal

In 1A action, second-ranked Kelowna Christian’s bid for B.C. gold fell short, but the squad came away with a top-three finish.

After falling 72-34 to third-ranked Unity Christian of Chilliwack in semifinal action on Friday, Kelowna Christian bounced back on Saturday to defeat No. 5 Fernie 88-56 in the bronze-medal game.

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Indy Hallett paced Kelowna Christian with 39 points, with Jake Sabbagh adding 26 points, as the Okanagan side hit Fernie with an early knockout blow, leading 23-5 after the first quarter.

Against Unity Christian, Sabbagh led Kelowna Christian with 14 points, 19 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals.

The game was close for the first few minutes, with Kelowna up by three at 8:44, but then Unity Christian began pulling away and never looked back, leading 24-13 after the first quarter.

Also Friday, Grand Forks fell 83-81 to Deer Lake to place 14th.

In the gold-medal game, it will be an all-Chilliwack affair, with Unity Christian playing No. 1 Highroad Christian Academy.

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Kelowna Christian to play Grand Forks for bronze

At Kelowna, hopes for a gold-medal game featuring two regional teams evaporated on Friday night.

In semifinal play, tournament host Kelowna Christian fell 67-59 to No.1 Credo Christian of Langley, while No. 6 Grand Forks lost 69-33 to Unity Christian.

Kelowna Christian will now play Grand Forks in the bronze-medal game at 3:30 p.m., on Saturday.

The gold-medal game between Credo Christian and Unity Christian will take place at 5:30 p.m.

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In other Saturday action, Heritage Christian of Kelowna was to play St. Andrew’s Regional for seventh and eighth place, while Charles Bloom of Lumby was to meet Maaqtusiis in the game for 13th and 14th place.

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