The gym at Kelowna Secondary was rocking as students and fans welcomed back the Interior Savings Western Canada Basketball Tournament after a two year COVID-19 hiatus.
And, the home side didn't disappoint the crowd of more than 1,000 in a convincing 72-47 win over the Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds from Edmonton.
The Owls used a stifling defence to open up a 14-0 first quarter lead and led by as much as 30 in the fourth quarter before settling for the 25-point win.
The visitors attempted just five shots over the first nine minutes before finally getting on the board from the free throw line..
In fact, all three T-Bird points in the first quarter came from the charity stripe.
The Owls led 18-3 after one and pushed the lead to 25 before a late 10-0 run brought the visitors to within 18, 35-17 at the break.
The margin could have been even greater had the Owls been a little more consistent on the offensive side. They hit just 40 per cent of their shots from the field and were one of 13 from beyond the arc.
"We did what we needed to do. It wasn't crisp or clean by the defence is coming along nicely," said Owls head coach Harry Parmar.
"There were a lot of whistles and it was tough to get a rhythm going. We didn't shoot the ball great tonight, but that's why you play great defence. Hopefully all those misses tomorrow will go in."
And, as for the crowd, Parmar said it was nice to see the gym back the way it was with fans lining the court, filling the stand and making a lot of noise.
The Owls forced 32 turnovers, 19 in the opening quarter alone and 21 steals, led by Nash Semeniuk who had six steals.
KSS turned those turnovers in 33 points. They also outscored the Thunderbirds 34-14 in the paint.
Semeniuk hit for a game high 18 points, five rebounds and two assists while Will Keyes came down with nine points, four boards and four blocks.
Kayden Boersma had eight points and four steals off the bench.
Things get tougher from here for the Owls who face number one ranked Vancouver College in one semi-final Friday at 7:30.
The Fighting Irish advanced to face the Owls with a 113-88 win over St. Paul's Crusaders out of Winnipeg.
Finn Teasdale led the way with a game high 37 points. Aidan Lear added 22 and 13 rebounds while Isaiah Bias had 18 points, five rebounds and 11 assists.
Gio Ajiamah had a team high 29 for the Crusaders.
In the other game on the opening day, Cole Bekkering poured in 24 points and added nine rebounds to lead the Semiahmoo Thunderbirds past John Taylor Collegiate Pipers of Winnipeg 108-71.
And, in the day's opening game, Griffin Arnatt scored 24 and hauled in 17 boards to lead Oak Bay to a 77-47 thumping of the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs.
The tournament resumes at 1:45 Friday.