Golden Eagles head into home tournament off a win in Calgary

Golden Eagles basketball team has first and only home tournament of the year this weekend.

After a bit of adversity mid-season, the Golden Secondary School Eagles are feeling strong, and are ready to give Golden a good show for their first and only home tournament of the year.

After a tournament in Medicine Hat two weeks ago where they went two and two, the senior boys basketball team was happy to come out with a win on their final game at the 35th Annual Trojan Classic, a AAAA tournament in Calgary. Golden’s own Neal Randhawa even came out of it as the Tournament Allstar.

The Eagles started strong with a 88-66 win against Lethbridge’s Winston Churchill, a team they’d beat in the finals of an earlier tournament.

“We knew they’d be coming at us strong again. But we were ready for them,” said starting point guard Kiran Gosal.

They suffered a hard loss in the semi-finals against the tournament winners, William Aberhart, but didn’t get discouraged as they headed into their final game.

“It wasn’t necessarily the most successful tournament for us, but I wasn’t disappointed. We left with a win. In previous tournaments we’d made it to the finals and went home on a loss, and you leave with a feeling of regret. I’m still regretful for losing that semifinal game, but I feel like we were able to leave with a good win and get some confidence back,” said Kiran.

“It was really important for us to get that win, now we have momentum, and it’s downhill for us into our home tournament this weekend,” said John Ozsust.

That does not mean it is going to be an easy ride for the team. Four strong schools are coming out for the home tourney (Cranbrook’s Mt. Baker, Salmon Arm, Sahali from Kamloops, and LV Rogers from Nelson), and they all have their eyes on Golden.

“I think teams are starting to gun for us because they know who we are. They know we’re a top team in B.C., and we’ve beaten top teams in B.C. and Alberta. We have a bit of a target on our back, teams are out to beat us,” said Oszust.

But they don’t mind. In fact, it only adds more fuel to the fire.

“All the coaches have been coming up to me before the games, and they knew about us…The coaches all have a bit of a scouting report on us, and they’ve all been very complimentary about the team,” said head coach Kindy Gosal.

For the first time this year the boys will be able to show the home crowd the reputation they have been building on all season. The entire team is grateful for the unexpected support they have received from Goldenites who have travelled with them, but are eager to bring this momentum back home.

“I’ve seen some things I really like from this team this weekend, compared to the past three or four. We started off the season very strong, had a bit of a lull, and are now starting to ramp up again,” said Kindy.

He is especially encouraged by the growth he has seen from some of his younger players, like Kiran and Ozsust, who have developed into strong competitors, making significant contributions to a team comprised mainly of senior players.

“These guys are laying it on the line for this team and I’m really proud of them,” he added.

The community will have the chance to see the Eagles, ranked 7th in the province for AA, on Friday Feb. 13 at 1:30 p.m. against Cranbrook (although GSS students will be occupying most of the stands). They will be playing Salmon Arm that same night at 7 p.m., which is expected to be a can’t-miss game against a strong, physical team. They will also be playing two games on Saturday Feb. 14 at 10:30 a.m. against Sahali, and 4 p.m. against LV Rogers.