Wildcats look to defend title
One is the defending RCMP Basketball Classic champion. The other has 10 championship banners from the all-Surrey senior boys high school tournament hanging in its gym.
Both are ranked among the top five teams in the province, and are favoured to meet in a rematch of last year’s tournament final Jan. 19.
The Tamanawis Wildcats won their first-ever RCMP title a year ago, edging the White Rock Christian Academy (WRCA) Warriors 68-66 in overtime and denying the South Surrey school an 11th championship.
Ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the BC Boys Basketball Association provincial rankings, the Warriors and Wildcats might be the most likely teams to reach this year’s final. But the eighth-ranked Enver Creek Cougars and the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers (honorable mention) could also be factors in the 23-team knockout competition.
It is expected that having four teams from Surrey considered among B.C.’s best will make this year’s RCMP Classic one of the more competitive in recent years.
“It should be,” agreed Rick Inrig, co-chair of the tournament’s organizing committee. “Having three of the top 10 teams helps. It’s nice to see three (Surrey) schools ranked, and Lord Tweedsmuir is fairly good as well.”
Fourteen schools begin play in the qualifying round of the 22nd annual RCMP Classic Sunday at Earl Marriott and Enver Creek Secondaries, the winners advancing to the round-of-16 Tuesday at Fleetwood Park and Southridge high schools.
Fleetwood Park will host one of three quarterfinal games Wednesday, the other three being played at Enver Creek, which will also host next Friday’s (Jan. 18) two semifinals as well as the championship game.
In total, 43 games will be played at six Surrey schools. Lord Tweedsmuir will host consolation games next Thursday (Jan. 17), while Frank Hurt will be the site of Pool B (qualifying round losers).
A 16-team junior boys tournament will again be part of the RCMP Classic, with games at Panorama Ridge and Princess Margaret Monday through Thursday of next week, with the final at Enver Creek on Jan. 19.
With a total of 39 teams, more than $10,000 in scholarship money, and an invitation to Grade 12s to the All-Star Classic game on April 5, the tournament is as big as it can get, said Inrig, adding a new look to the host sites is the only change that can be expected.
“There will be some new banners, more logos in the gym. It will look more professional,” said Inrig. “There’s not much more we can do.”
Tournament schedule and scores are online at surreybasketballclassic.com