The Kitsilano Blue Demons want to put last year's disappointing loss at the Lower Mainland AAA senior boys basketball championship finals behind them. The Demons lost to the Saint George's Saints after a Hail Mary basket by a Saints player in the dying moment of the game was at first waved off by officials and then counted it after all.
But first they have to make it through the Vancouver secondary school district finals, which began yesterday (Feb. 12) at John Oliver secondary and continue daily until Saturday.
The Kits team is currently ranked eighth in the province with an impressive 19-4 record for the season and is considered among the favourites to secure one of five Lower Mainland berths to advance to the provincial finals next month in Langley.
"We're ready to roll," said coach Randy Coutts over the phone Tuesday morning before the opening games of the tournament. "Right now we are just looking forward to the Vancouver championships, which we've won a total of 13 times I think."
The Demons got an automatic pass to the 17-team tourney's second round and play their first game tonight (Feb. 13) at 7:30 p.m. against the Windermere Warriors, who are 13-8 for the 2012-2013 season.
West Side divisional rivals the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs, ranked ninth in B.C. with a 16-5 record, are expected to pose a serious challenge. The Bulldogs, who also earned an automatic pass to the second round, play their own first game of the tournament today at 2:15 p.m. against the winner of a Tuesday afternoon game (after the Courier's print deadline) between the Eric Hamber Griffins and host John Oliver Jokers.
The senior Tier 2 girls basketball championship title is also on the line this week at Windermere secondary.
It's a much smaller tournament with only seven competing teams from cross the city but it is expected to be a tight one, with the top three teams having nearly identical records.
The Lord Byng Grey Ghosts, David Thompson Trojans and Windermere Warriors are all entering the tournament with 5-1 records, with Lord Byng having sunk the most overall baskets with a total of 345. Vancouver Technical has an equal number of wins and losses, while the Charles Tupper Tigers, King George Dragons and Gladstone Gladiators have all dropped five games apiece while managing just one win.
Lord Byng plays its first game today at 5:45 p.m. against the winner of an earlier game between Gladstone and Van Tech.