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Owls in tough at own tournament

T

he KSS Owls are flying under the radar as they get set to host the 41st annual Interior Savings Western Canada Basketball Tournament.

The tournament tips off Thursday afternoon at KSS.

The Owls haven't won this tournament since 1982 - a span of 32 years.

Two years ago, ranked number one in the province, the Owls advanced to the final before falling 91-85 to Harry Ainley Titans, the number one team in Alberta.

With a younger, unranked team, the Owls are not expected to be a factor when Saturday's final rolls around.

However, Owls head coach Harry Parmar, says his team will approach the tournament the same way they always have.

"(We'll just) take a game at a time and go from there - take it a play at a time. No different than any other year," says Parmar.

The Owls come into the tournament an honourable mention in the latest AAA High school rankings with a 12-7 record.

They open the tournament against the Jasper Place Rebels out of Edmonton, a team that also received an honourable mention in the last Alberta top 10 poll.

"They are tall. They'll get up and down (the court). It might be a bit of a track meet," says Parmar of their opening night opponent.

Only four of the eight teams entered this year are currently ranked within their province.

Balfour Redmen (#1 ranked in Saskatchewan), Oak Park Raiders (#3 ranked in Manitoba), Walnut Grove Gators and Holy Cross Crusaders (#4 and #5 in BC respectively) come in with a provincial rank.

The other two schools, Burnaby South Rebels and Bishop O'Byrne Bobcats out of Calgary are honourable mentions in their respective provinces.

The top ranked Balfour Redmen look to be the team to beat.

They feature a a large front court that includes 6'6", 310 pound forward Mitch Schwindt who comes into the tournament averaging 20 points and 10 boards per game.

He is described as a big, strong player who most often gets the position he wants in the low post.

He is also the shortest of the three front court players.

The Owls meantime are led by senior Buzz Truss who missed last year's tournament with an ankle injury.

"All year long he's been keyed on," says Parmar of Truss.

"When they play us, other teams, they stop Buzz Truss, they stop us. That's the way it is."

The tournament opens up at 2:30 Thursday with a game between Belfour and Holy Cross.

The Owls and Jasper Place tip off at 8:15, immediately following the popular the Slam Dunk competition.

Saturday's final is set for 7:45.

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