Sports

Tourney an experience players won’t soon forget

The B.C. high school AAA senior boys’ basketball championships are a tournament steeped in tradition.

That was the message to the current players who attended Monday’s press conference at the Langley Events Centre.

Seven of the 20 participating teams, including local entry Walnut Grove, were on hand for the luncheon which featured tournament organizers and past coaches and players.

The Gators open play in the quarter-finals against Vancouver College at 1:15 p.m.

Former North Delta coach Stan Stewardson, who led the Huskies to the 1971 championship, said the reason they had such a good team was not because of the coaches, but because of the players’ desire.

“The reason we had such a good team ... is because these guys loved the game,” Stewardson said.

“The ice cream cone was the B.C. (championship) tournament, but the love of the game is what made these people successful.”

The 66th edition of the championships kicked off yesterday, and for the first time, the tournament is being held in Langley.

“Our goal is to make sure the experience is one they will never forget,” said tournament director John Buis, who played on Stewardson’s North Delta teams.

“That experience remained with me for the rest of my life and it motivated me to try and make sure we had these experiences available for other basketball players.

“We want to make sure the experience our players have is one they will remember forever.”

As part of the tournament festivities, the 1961 champions from Magee, North Delta (1971) and North Surrey (1981) will be honoured.

Visit www.langleytimes.com for video and for daily results from the tournament.

The tournament runs until Saturday.

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