While Basketball is not the only event that Kitsfest showcases, it is by far its most deep and competitive event. Tennis was delayed and beach volleyball had a strong showing this season, but hoop brought out the “Who’s Who” in Lower Mainland basketball this year.
With good participation in the girl’s division and a great turnout in the boy’s division, the Men’s open was the headliner of the tournament! Stacked from top to bottom with young and old talent. Many standouts from just about every era of basketball in the Lower Mainland! From Randy Nohr of the 2000s to the old guard of Howard Kelsey and Ron Putzi (we will not go into the era they played in to protect the innocently old).
It was great to see players like Pete Morris, who I have been missing from a number of leagues and tourneys as of late. The always competitive and charismatic Josh Masters. UBC’s young gun squad looked fresh and ready to go. With their full court press and trapping defense, they created havoc all over the court. The games were full of energy, and then fueled with competitiveness following a few hard fouls. It seemed like every game had a little bit of chippy-ness, but it added to the level of play of each player on competing teams. The Champs added a few “ringers”, one no bigger than “recently drafted” Joey Haywood!
First shock of the tournament was the upset of the defending champions Kits Beach Alum by the 5th anniversary team of Douglas College (VanCity)! Led by Jamie Wei, VanCity was able to find some of that old magic that won them the National Championship in 2008. Kits Beach Alum team, who has the best talent every single year, just didn’t have the chemistry to prevent the onslaught brought by the undersized but lighting quick Douglas squad. This upset was not expected, and it changed the complexion of the Men’s division for the whole weekend going forward.
While the Champs won their division they lost a tough one in the semis to Watson (A.K.A. X Falcons). The next semis would pit VanCity vs their spring/summer tournament arch nemesis UBC. It was a hard fought battle against the taller UBC team, but Vancity’s quickness and unselfishness drove them past UBC into the Sunday title game!
The Boys division finals pitted AllBall vs the vaunted Drive team. It was exciting and with up and down action. The boys seemed to run better offensive sets then the Men’s Open Division! At times it came down to who could make the best pass for an open shot. The point guard play was outstanding! The coaches were both vocal and way into the action. The Drive squad went up 6 with less than 2 minutes left in the game, but AllBall would not die and hit a few shots to keep them within striking distance. It would be for not as the Drive veterans would salt away the game with some clutch driving layups.
The Sunday Championship game came with both teams sore, hurting, and shorthanded. The weekend had claimed it share of athletes young and old. The two teams left had to dig deep into their reserves to find the energy. The game was hard fought and a bit raggedy at times, but the Watson Team was able to capitalize on VanCity’s miscues including 5 missed layups! The constant bombardment of offensive rebounding wore VanCity down, and Team Watson was able to take a 9 point lead into the 2nd half.
The 2nd half would see a familiar face wake up and knock down two crucial three pointers. Who you may ask? None other than Randy “Ice Water” Nohr! Even after suffering an apparent lower leg injury, he stayed in the game (mostly because they had no guards to sub for him)! Those two dagger threes came after an impressive and scrappy late game comeback by VanCity. Team Watson would close the game out on the free throw line and take the 2013 Kitsfest Men’s Open Championship Title!
Once again, Kitsfest did not disappoint! The talent was there. The competition was there, and the fans showed up as well. I’m especially proud of the 2007-2008 National CCAA Champions Douglas College. Even though they were short handed, nearly every member of the team showed up for the game! Here is a picture of this squad (I finally didn’t miss out on this picture…long story)! Until next year…May all of your “bricks” be few, and all of your “swishes” be plentiful!
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– Clint Lomax A.K.A. Mjlover23