The 2020 Jonathan Taylor Legal Beagle invitational basketball tournament that tips off Thursday at Terry Fox secondary school in Port Coquitlam will feature its usual contingent of top seniors boys teams in the province. In fact, five of them are ranked amongst the top 10, and two others are honourable mentions.
But the 31st annual competition is also a showcase for some of the top high school stars, said organizer Brad Petersen.
Players like Dominic Parolin, of the Centennial Centaurs, Burnaby South’s Sasha Vujisic, Jacob Holt from Vancouver College and Kelowna Owls’ senior guard Hunter Simson, will be facing some of their toughest tests against each other as their teams head into the meat of their regular season schedules leading to the provincial championships in Langley in March.
It could be war, Petersen said, adding, “You can really see what teams are ready to make a push to provincials.”
That presents a formidable challenge for the host team, the Terry Fox Ravens, that happen to be coached by Petersen. Which is just the way he likes it.
“This is the perfect tournament for us to kick off our league play and make sure we are competing at our best,” Petersen said.
The Ravens will be leaning heavily on 6-foot-4 Grade 11 guard Cam Slaymaker, who led Fox to the quarter-finals at the Tsumura invitational tournament in December before the team was ousted by Kelowna, 101-71.
Petersen said his charges thrive with the pressure.
“There are no easy games,” he said. “It adds a little more excitement.”
• The tournament kicks off Thursday at 3:15 p.m., when the Heritage Woods Kodiaks play eighth-ranked St. George’s. At 5 p.m., No. 7 Vancouver College will face the Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats, from Calgary, AB. The host Ravens, an honourable mention in the latest rankings, will play Kitsilano at 6:45 p.m. and the opening evening rounds out with top-ranked Centennial meeting HM Holy Cross at 8:30 p.m. Third-ranked Burnaby South and No. 2 Kelowna see their first action Friday morning. All games are at Terry Fox secondary (1260 Riverwood Gate), Port Coquitlam.