Tamanawis and Panorama Ridge players battle in last year’s final.

Tamanawis and Panorama Ridge players battle in last year’s final.

Surrey RCMP Classic tips off this week

22 senior boys basketball teams to vie for city title at annual tournament.

Twenty-two senior boys basketball teams tipped off this week at the annual Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic, with citywide bragging rights on the line.

The all-Surrey tournament – which has been dominated in recent years by the Tamanawis Wildcats, winners of the last three titles – began with first-round games Tuesday, though 12 teams actually tipped off Sunday in a qualifying round, with winners advancing to the main bracket of the event.

On Sunday, the Princess Margaret Lions advance to Tuesday’s round with a 91-89 win over the Pacific Academy Breakers; Earl Marriott defeated L.A. Matheson 69-52; Kwantlen Park advanced with a 62-43 win over the Frank Hurt Hornets; Clayton Heights nearly doubled up Surrey Christian 102-54 to move on to the main bracket; the Sullivan Height Stars beat the Elgin Park Orcas 95-37 and Johnston Heights also qualified, winning over Regent Christian 65-52.

Teams are back on the court Wednesday and games continue throughout the week at schools across the city, with the final round set for Saturday at Enver Creek Secondary. The championship game is set for 7:45 p.m.

While the tournament has, over the last half-decade, been dominated by Tamanawis – the Wildcats have not only won three straight RCMP titles, but have been in six straight finals, winning four times – this year’s event may prove to be a more wide-open field.

The ‘Cats, while still among the top contenders, are without MVP point guard Miguel Tomley, the Grade 10 sensation that led the team to victory last year. Tomley has moved east to play prep-school hoops.

A pair of teams in the tournament are currently ranked just inside the B.C. top 10. The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, a team which has reached the semifinal round each of the past three seasons, is ranked ninth, one slot better than the 10th-ranked Semiahmoo Totems. The Totems are coming off a fifth-place showing at the Terry Fox Secondary-hosted Legal Beagle tournament – which featured some of the province’s best senior boys squads.

“We are playing pretty well right now,” said Semiahmoo coach Ed Lefurgy, whose teams travelled to San Diego for a tournament over the Christmas break.

Another two Surrey schools – the Panorama Ridge Thunder and the Wildcats –were given honorable mention in the provincial poll, posted on the B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association website.

In addition to the senior tournament, a 20-team junior boys draw also began this week, with teams hitting the court Monday in first-round action.

The junior showdown – played at numerous schools – is set to wrap up Saturday afternoon, with the championship tilt set for Enver Creek Secondary at noon.

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