To be ranked No. 1 in B.C. high school boys basketball in the preseason poll is admittedly a nice piece of recognition for Harry Parmar’s team.
But according to the head coach, the only time such a ranking will carry any weight for his KSS Owls is at the end of the season.
“It’s nice for the guys, but going forward it really means nothing,” Parmar said. “Our goal wasn’t to be number one on November 30.
“Our goal is to be number one on March 12 (provincial final). That’s how we’re looking at it.”
The Owls are tuning up for a run at the 2016 B.C. AAAA boys championship with their first tournament of the season this weekend, the Kodiak Classic at Heritage Woods.
Last season, KSS proved to be a program on the rise with a win at their own Western Canada tournament—the first in 33 years—and a bronze medal at provincials.
Four experienced starters from that team are back—Parker Simson, Nav Sandhu, Grant Shephard and Matt Lafontaine—a big reason the Owls are favoured to go all the way next spring.
The 6-foot-9 Shephard, who is only in Grade 11, was a second all-star at last year’s provincials and also played this summer for Canada’s national U16 program.
Parmar said Shephard’s potential is unlimited.
“He could be a special talent,” Parmar said of Shephard. “He has the opportunity to be as good as he wants if he puts in the work. He could be the best big man in B.C.”
A couple of highly-touted rookies, Mason Bourcier and Owen Keyes, are also expected to play key minutes for KSS this season.
Parmar likes the Owls’ chances but only if they commit to all that’s required of a championship team.
“On paper we look really good,” said Parmar, “but paper doesn’t win games. We need to put the work in and if we do, then I like where we stand.
“We’re excited and we have very high expectations. Now it’s matter of going out there on the court and making it happen.”
As skilled and talented as the Owls may be, the head coach believes the his team’s success will ultimately come down to character and attention to detail.
“I’m hoping it’s their character that will stand out above everything else, their refusal to lose,” said Parmar. “If we look after the little things, especially on defense, then that’s what’s important.
“We’re going to get every team’s best game, so we have to understand we need to come prepared every time we get on the floor.”
The Owls will host the 2016 version of the Western Canada Tournament Feb. 4 to 6.
The B.C. high school AAAA championship goes March 8 to 12 in Langley.
Lisa Nevoral’s KSS girls team heads into the B.C. AAA season ranked fourth in the province.
The Owls will be led into battle by a trio of seniors and junior Heat teammates Ellie McCarthy, Claire Demug and Lindsay Nicholas.
Courtney Donaldson, the valley MVP last season, and Alley Corrado are a pair of Grade 11s who will make contributions.
Taya Hanson, the only Grade 10 player, who played with Canada’s U16 program this summer, will also be key.
The Owls, who are at tournament this weekend in Abbotsford, placed sixth at provincials in 2015.