The Handsworth Royals senior boys will play host to a crucial pair of semifinal games Thursday in the brand new Vancouver Sea to Sky zone basketball championship tournament.
This season the zone tournament replaced the old Howe Sound Championship tournament, the pressure-packed event which for many years was used to determine which North Shore senior boys basketball teams would go to provincials. There were some memorable battles over the years, including some classic Argyle versus Handsworth matchups in the mid-2000s in which both teams were considered provincial powerhouses but only one could advance to the B.C. championships.
The new zone, one of nine in the province, is made up of public and independent schools from Vancouver, the North Shore, the Sunshine Coast and the Sea to Sky school district playing at four different levels: A, AA, AAA and AAAA.
At the AAAA level, made up of the largest schools, the Royals have earned the No. 1 seed coming into the tournament, giving them an automatic berth into the semifinals. The two semifinals will be played Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Handsworth. The Royals are currently ranked No. 4 in the province. West Vancouver Secondary will have a chance to join Handsworth in the semifinals when they play a quarterfinal matchup tonight, Feb. 19, against St. George’s. Tip-off is at 7:45 p.m. at St. George’s.
At the senior boys AAA level three North Shore teams will take part in quarterfinal games tonight. Fifth-seeded Rockridge will take on fourth-ranked Lord Byng at 6 p.m. at Lord Byng, while sixth-seeded Carson Graham will face third-ranked Magee at Charles Tupper Secondary at 6 p.m. Seventh-ranked Sentinel will also travel to Tupper where they will face the host school starting at 7:45 p.m.
At the senior boys AA level St. Thomas Aquinas is the second-ranked team coming into the tournament. STA will host a quarterfinal tonight against seventh-seeded Notre Dame starting at 7:45 p.m. No. 3 Mulgrave will also play at STA Wednesday, taking on sixth-seeded West Point Grey Academy at 6 p.m. Fourth-ranked Collingwood will also be in action, taking on Whistler at King George Secondary at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The zone championship final games for the AAAA, AAA and AA senior boys divisions will all be played Saturday at Notre Dame Secondary. Click here for full tournament schedules and updated results.