Well over 200 young athletes will gather in Red Deer this weekend for the 23rd Annual Cougar Classic Basketball Tournament.
The tourney which features eight senior boys teams and six senior girls teams takes place on Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8.
Games start Friday at 1:00 p.m. and take palce at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School, St. Francis of Assisi Middle School and École Camille J. Lerouge School.
Boys teams include the hometown Notre Dame Cougars and Hunting Hills Lightning, Jasper Place and St. Joe’s from Edmonton, Bishop Grandin from Calgary, Holy Trinity from Okotoks, McCoy from Medicine Hat and Glenmary from Peace River.
Girls teams include Notre Dame and Hunting Hills from Red Deer, HJ Cody from Sylvan Lake, St. Joe’s from Edmonton, Robert Thirsk from Calgary and McCoy from Medicine Hat.
Ian Rattan, Physical Education Teacher and Athletics Director at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School says their showcase game will see the Notre Dame boys battle Glenmary at Camille Friday night before the girls play Robert Thirsk at 7:45 p.m.
“We’re going to honour our 1988 3A Boys Provincial Champion Cougars basketball team,” states Rattan. “This is the 30th anniversary of them winning that provincial championship. So at 6 o’clock we’re going to have seven or eight out of the ten athletes from that team going to be on hand at Camille, just so we can do a little bit of a presentation pre-game and honour them for a pretty big accomplishment and milestone.”
Rattan hopes the players involved have a lot of fun competing.
“It’s their first tournament of the season,” explains Rattan. “Hopefully they have some success, whether that’s winning or losing or just getting better every game. We’re just looking for some development here.”
Rattan does however anticipate the level of play to be high.
“There’s some really good teams coming, Jasper Place is always a very strong team on the boys side,” he explains. “Okotoks Holy Trinity Academy are also a fairly strong team usually. On the girls side, the McCoy Colts are very strong always. They usually rank in the top of Tier 3 for basketball and they actually won a 3A provincial championship last year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Rattan says the games are open to the public with no admission but donations for the Red Deer Christmas Bureau are encouraged.
For game results, Rattan anticipates those to be found on the Notre Dame Twitter feed Friday and Saturday.
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