More than 500 basketball players in the Surrey School District will take to the court this week in the 23rd annual Surrey RCMP Classic.
The qualifying round of the 23-team senior category began play Sunday at two local high schools, while the junior division began play yesterday (Monday) at three venues with 20 teams participating, up from 16 a year ago.
Winners of Sunday’s qualifying games advance to the first round of the RCMP Classic today (Tuesday). The losers will drop into Pool B, a seven-team competition that concludes with games Wednesday and Thursday and Frank Hurt Secondary.
The all-Surrey championship began in 1993 as an eight-team tournament, but has grown to become the largest in B.C. When the tournament concludes with championship games Saturday at Enver Creek Secondary, 77 games will have been played at eight Surrey high schools over seven days.
The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors have dominated the RCMP Classic over the years, winning 11 championships in 14 appearances in the tournament final.
They topped the Tamanawis Wildcats 89-70 in last year’s final, but won’t be defending their championship in 2014. White Rock Christian doesn’t have a senior boys team this season.
That leaves the Wildcats as the heavy favorites, after having moved up the third in the provincial Senior AAAA rankings by the B.C. Boys Basketball Association.
The Fleetwood Park Dragons should also contend for a berth in the final. The Dragons are ranked fourth among Senior AAA teams. First round games will be played today, with quarterfinal contests tomorrow. The semifinals are Friday night at 5:45 and 7:45 p.m. at Enver Creek Secondary, with the championship game Saturday at 7:45 p.m.