Now, the games really start to count.
That’s not to say that they didn’t this past weekend for the Golden Eagles senior boys’ basketball team, playing at home for the only time this season, but there will be no margin for error going forward as this group hopes to make a run at provincials.
If the Kicking Horse Classic is any indication, they are more than ready for the challenge.
The Eagles dominated their home tournament from start to finish, setting the tone with a lopsided 89-46 win over Selkirk (Kimberley) in the opener on Friday afternoon with a gym full of their peers in attendance. It was probably the Eagles’ weakest game of the three over the weekend, but it was still a straight forward victory.
“We tend to get nervous when we’re in front of the school,” said guard Kiran Gosal.
“That game’s always exciting, a pep rally game and the crowd’s behind us…we really do appreciate everyone coming out,” said forward Meva Dhami.
The Eagles followed that up with an impressive offensive display on Friday night, winning 105-66 over Barriere. They capped the tournament with a 92-39 win over Banff on Saturday morning in a game where the result was never in doubt.
“We played really well, we defended home court,” said head coach Kindy Gosal.
“We just imposed our will, we played good defence primarily and we just dominated these teams. These aren’t bad teams, it’s just that when we play our game, they can’t play with us.”
Dhami and Kiran earned tournament all-star nods, as did impressive second year Eagle John Oszust.
“I’m honestly just really happy to get our first tournament win of the season,” Kiran said. “It’s a feeling I got used to last year and haven’t really experienced it until now this year.”
While their three all-stars led the charge offensively, the Eagles’ depth shone as well with contributions coming from all over the court.
“Everyone else played their roles really well. Arun (Randhawa) grabbing rebounds, Blake (Gulbe) playing really hard and Ben (Wiegert), just an offensive rebound monster,” Dhami said.
As the clock wound down on the Eagles’ final win, it was a bittersweet moment for a pair of graduating seniors. Both Dhami and Kiran were taken out of the game late in the contest knowing that it would be the final home game of their high school careers.
“It was a little bit weird…this was my last game here,” Dhami said.
“I haven’t really registered it at this point with the fact that this will be the last home game of my life…it’s definitely a tough thing to hold onto because I enjoy this so much,” Kiran said.
Golden will now set its sights on a third straight appearance at the provincials in Langley. In order to accomplish that goal, they’ll have to take the title at the Kootenay Zone Championships later this month. The provincials will take place from Mar. 9 to 12.