West Kootenay Bulls make strong impression at first tournament
Both the U12 and U16 West Kootenay Bulls boys club basketball teams had good results at the Thompson Rivers University spring basketball tournament on May 4 and 5 in Kamloops. The U12 team placed second out of four teams in a round robin format. They lost a heartbreaker in the opening game to eventual champion Vernon 19-18. The Bulls went back and forth all game with the quick team from Vernon, but a last second short fell short. Next up for the U12’s was the Valleyview club from Kamloops. The Bulls took early command of the game with great defence and rebounding. The final score ended 28-14 in favour of the Bulls. The team's final game was against Salmon Arm. Once again, the Kootenay boys jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 30-14 victory. In the end, the Bulls finished second, falling one basket short of first place in the tournament. It was a great showing for a team that had only been together for a short time. For many of the players, it was their first basketball tournament. For all the players, it was an introduction to basketball at a higher level of competition.
The U16 Bulls also made a strong showing at TRU. They opened the tourney against the OK Mission Assault from Kelowna. The Bulls led after the first half and exchanged the lead during the second half. Eventually, OK Mission took the win 44-37 behind some strong outside shooting. The Bulls played their second game on 75 minutes rest against another Valleyview club team. The Kamloops squad brought only eight players into this match up. The Bulls played all 12 players and proceeded to push the pace for the entire game. Strong defence produced turnovers and fast break points, leading to a final score of 36-22 in favour of the Bulls. Vanderhoof was the opponent for the last pool game. The Bulls started slowly and the score was close throughout the game. Strong inside play and solid rebounding carried the Bulls. However, strong outside shooting kept the Vanderhoof squad within striking distance until the end. Eventually, the balanced Bulls squad was too much and they prevailed 49-44. This left the Bulls in second place in their pool and earned a spot in the consolation final. The South Okanagan Regional team awaited in the final match-up. South Okanagan led for most of the game, but the Bulls kept the score within seven points for most of the match. Every time they closed the gap to four or less, the Okanagan team had an answer and extended the lead again. Final score was 46-34 for S. Okanagan. The Bulls represented themselves with pride and grit throughout the tournament. Officials let the boys play rough throughout the tournament and the Bulls backed down from no one. Every player on the roster rebounded fearlessly and competed for every loose ball. Defensive effort was intense, leaving opponents frustrated and exhausted.
Twenty-three players represented the West Kootenay in both age groups. Every player contributed throughout the tournament. All the players and coaches learned a lot and look forward to a bigger and better program in 2013.