Seeking an early preview of some of the teams who could very well be in contention for the 3A and 4A senior boys’ provincial basketball title this February and March? Then the Langley Events Centre is the place to be over the course of the next dozen days.
It all starts with the 2019 Boys Tsumura Basketball Invitational, which runs December 4 to 7 while the 2019 Girls Tsumura Basketball Invitational is set for next week (December 11 to 14).
Both tournaments have also expanded for 2019 from 16 to 20 teams and each draw features many of the top teams from around the province with 14 top-10 (3A and 4A) and another three honourable mentions on the boys side and 17 top-10 (2A, 3A and 4A) plus another two honourable mention squads.
“I love the way our BC high school basketball community has broadened over the years to now include four tiers of competition. The spinoff has been increased profiles for some of the smaller schools who were just out of contention for BC titles in a three-tiered world,” said Howard Tsumura, who handpicks the teams invited each year. Tsumura also operates Varsity Letters, which covers high school, collegiate and university sports in the province.
“Through the TBI, we celebrate the new world by matching the best of 3A and 4A in the same draw,” he added. “It’s all about the best of BC basketball without tiers getting in the way.”
This year’s star-studded draw features eight of the pre-season 4A top 10 teams (No. 1 Burnaby South, No. 3 Holy Cross, No. 4 Centennial, No. 5 Kelowna, No. 7 Belmont, No. 8 Terry Fox, No. 9 Lord Tweedsmuir and No. 10 Claremont as well as Heritage Woods, Oak Bay and Walnut Grove, who enter the season as 4A honourable mentions.
Six of the top-ranked 3A teams — No. 2 Duchess Park, No. 3 A.R. MacNeill, No. 4 G.W. Graham, No. 5 R.A. McMath, No. 6 Sir Charles Tupper and No. 10 St. Michaels University School – will also take the court.
The first day gets underway with four games featuring Fleetwood Park against R.A. McMath (2:30 p.m.), Heritage Woods vs. New Westminster (4 p.m.), A.R. MacNeill against Seaquam (5:45 p.m.) and Sir Charles Tupper vs. St. Michaels University School (7:15 p.m.). The four winners enter the main draw on Thursday.
For the girls’ event, the tournament has nine of the top 10 4A teams (and two honourable mentions), plus five top-10 3A squads and three of the top four ranked 2A teams.
The girls draw features the second through 10-ranked teams (Kelowna, Brookswood, Yale, Walnut Grove, Terry Fox, Riverside, Panorama Ridge, Fleetwood Park and Lord Tweedsmuir) in the newly created 4A tier as well as a pair of Honourable Mentions (Earl Marriott and Heritage Woods).
Both top-ranked teams for the 2A (Langley Christian) and 3A (Okanagan Mission) will also be hand, and they are joined by several other top 10 teams from both tiers. For 3A, it is No, 3 R.A. McMath, No. 4 Argyle, No. G.W. Graham and No. 9 (Valleyview). Britannia (2A No. 3) and St. Thomas More (2A No. 4) are also in the field.