High schools accept invite to Kwantlen

By inviting 24 local high school teams to its campus, the Kwantlen Eagles are selling their men’s basketball program to roughly 300 prospective players.

Kwantlen University College hosted 16 junior boys (Grade 10 and under) to a tournament two weeks ago, and this weekend the Surrey campus is site to the inaugural eight-team senior boys event. The senior teams began play yesterday and start day two this afternoon (Friday) with four games before the Eagles host Portland Bible College at 8 p.m., the ‘feature game’ of the weekend’s events.

“The feature game gives us a chance to promote our team,” said Kwantlen head coach Bernie Love. “And it gives the kids a chance to see us play. That’s what the tournament is for, the kids play in our gym and see what we’re all about. It’s good exposure for the program.”

The kids can see Kwantlen. And Love can see the kids.

“At the junior tournament, I identified 15 or 16 kids I’ll be looking at for the next two or three years until they graduate,” said Love. “The senior tournament will be the same thing.”

The Queen Elizabeth Royals won the first-ever junior tournament, edging the Clayton Heights Nightriders 52-51 in the championship game. Sukh Dhillon of the Royals was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and also won the Top Defensive Player award.

Surrey schools dominated the first all-star team, which was comprised of Robert Gio of the Royals, Chris Fisher, Uriah Eger and Jordan Ghag of Clayton Heights, and Didar Grewal of the Tamanawis Wildcats.

Players from Surrey schools on the second all-star team were Aman Nijjer of Queen Elizabeth and Jag Dahai of the Wildcats.

Tamanawis placed third at the event, defeating the Elgin Park Orcas.

The four Surrey schools are entered in the senior boys tournament currently under way at Kwantlen are the Sullivan Heights Stars, the Johnston Heights Eagles, Frank Hurt Hornets and the Princess Margaret Lions. North Delta’s Burnsview Griffins are also competing.

The timing of this year’s event coincided with numerous other Senior boys tournaments also being held this weekend, which affected the number of teams which entered.

But Love expects to have 16 teams at the second annual event 12 months from now.

“Seaquam, North Delta, Clayton Heights and Queen Elizabeth are already committed to next year, so it’s a step up already,” he said.

Tomorrow’s games get under way at 3 p.m., with the championship game set for 8:15 p.m.

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