Sports

American high school basketball powerhouse coming to Langley

Jadon Cohee and his Walnut Grove Gators teammates will take part in the elite Tsumara Baskeball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre in December. - Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Jadon Cohee and his Walnut Grove Gators teammates will take part in the elite Tsumara Baskeball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre in December.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

Some of the top B.C. senior high school basketball teams — as well as an American powerhouse prep school — will be tipping off at an elite tournament in Langley this December.

The Langley Events Centre will host the Tsumara Basketball Invitational on Dec. 1 and 2.

The tournament is named after Howard Tsumara, a veteran high school and university sports reporter who has been covering the beat since 1990.

Some of the local teams include the Brookswood Bobcats senior girls team, which finished fourth at the AAA provincial championships in 2012 and feature a strong core of returning players.

The South Kamloops Titans will also be in attendance.

Bobcats coach Neil Brown knows what to expect from the Titans.

"Emma Wolfram was the most valuable player (at provincials) and will attract scholarship offers from all over North America," the veteran Brookswood coach said.

"But they are a very deep team behind her: they won the AAA championship and finished second in the junior championships, so there's a lot of talented players for us to match up with early in the season."

On the boys' side both the silver and bronze medallists — the Walnut Grove Gators and the White Rock Christian Warriors — from the 2012 AAA tournament will be playing.

Both teams are considered among the frontrunners for the 2013 B.C. title and are excited to face a team the caliber of Findlay Prep.

"Obviously, these are some of the top players in all of high school basketball," said Walnut Grove coach George Bergen, whose squad returns all but two players from last season's team.

"This is very exciting news for the B.C. basketball community, to get a glimpse of what ball south of the border looks like at its highest level.

"It'll be a great challenge and one that I'd like to thank the LEC for organizing."

Findlay Prep finished last season with a 32-1 record and as the number two ranked team in the country. In the past three years, the Henderson, Nevada school has produced three first round draft picks to the National Basketball Association.

"We are extremely excited and honoured to be part of this event; our students will have a great opportunity to experience this part of Canada and be able to perform in an excellent venue," said Findlay Prep associate head coach Todd Simon.

The expected roster for the team should feature three of ESPN's Top 100 high school basketball recruits for the class of 2013.

"Findlay Prep has a long history of producing exceptional basketball talent," said Trinity Western Spartans men's basketball coach Scott Allen, who helped assist with the logistics in bringing the games to the LEC.

"Their roster is stock full of big, athletic players ... and the fans who come are going to see players who will excel at the NCAA level and in the next few years should hear their names called in the NBA draft."

Further teams competing in the event are expected to be announced next month.

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