A year after winning both the Western Canada Basketball Tournament and the B.C. 4A boys titles, the Kelowna Owls almost turned in a repeat performance in 2017.
But each time, the Walnut Grove Gators were there to spoil the party.
In the final of the Interior Savings WCBT in February at KSS, the Gators prevailed over the Owls 73-68 in the championship final.
A little over a month later, at the 2017 provincial championship, Walnut Grove got the better of KSS once again with a 78-65 win at the Langley Events Centre.
In five meetings during the season, the Owls didn’t have an answer for the Gators.
“We wanted to go back and win gold and the guys gave it everything they had,” said Owls’ head coach Harry Parmar. “We had trouble with their size and just couldn’t find a way to beat them. It came to down just inches here and there, but that’s the way it is.”
Owls’ graduating guard Mason Bourcier, the championship game’s MVP, capped off a solid tournament and brilliant season with 29 points in the final. Fellow senior Owen Keyes, along with Bourcier was named a tournament all-star.
Following the season, both Bourcier and former Owl Grant Shephard signed with the UBC Thunderbirds for the 2017-18 Canada West season.
Then in the July, the 6-foot-10 Shephard helped Canada to its first ever gold medal at the Under-19 FIBA men’s basketball world championship in Egypt.
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