St. George's Saints Mitchell Tang (right) and John Katerberg of the Kelowna Owls scramble for a loose ball in Thursday's second round of the Telus Classic senior boys' basketball tournament in Vancouver.
Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, PNG
VANCOUVER - Kelowna Owls shooting guard John Katerberg took warmups to a different level Thursday when he stepped on the court Thursday at the Telus Basketball Classic.
Katerberg, a Grade 12 student who should know better, left his shoes at the hotel and had to warm up in teammate Liam Duncan's boots until his own arrived right before tip-off. Katerberg then had an undistinguished first half against the St. George's Saints, netting just five points in cold shoes.
His second half was a different story, however, as he drained five three-pointers to finish with a game-high 24 points in the Owls' 76-72 victory over the Saints. Obviously warm shoes led to a hot hand.
“We're all dressing up and I look in my bag and I'm, like, where are they?” Katerberg said, the forgotten shoes a laughing matter after the win. “The coach got kind of mad. I actually did the same thing last year, too. I forgot them for a whole tournament and had to buy brand new shoes.”
Katerberg's trio of treys early in the third quarter broke open a tight contest at the Charles Tupper gym and pushed the Owls, defending Telus Classic senior boys champs, to a 12-point lead. They almost squandered it and needed a last-second rim-out by St. George's Deklan Chung to secure the victory.
For their efforts, the Owls will meet No. 1-ranked Kitsilano Blue Demons in a semi-final showdown Friday at 7:30 pm at Sir Winston Churchill, site of all four semi-final games. On the other side of the draw, Vancouver College Fighting Irish will face the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors at 5:45.
In the girls semis, the two-time defending Telus champion Riverside Rapids will battle the Handsworth Royals at 2:15, followed by the Brookswood Bobcats and Argyle Pipers at 4 p.m.
Kelowna coach Harry Parmar admitted he had a little chat with Katerberg during Thursday's halftime. The Owls held a tenuous 40-37 lead at the point and Parmar felt some encouraging words might lead to better things.
“I told him don't worry about your shoes, don't worry about your first half, go out and play like you can and let them know,” Parmar said. “He was off in the first half. His shoes came just three minutes before the game started and that's why his first half was, I think, so bad.”
The Owls also received a nice performance Thursday from 6-4 wingman Buster (Buzz) Truss, who collected 19 points before fouling out with 3:09 remaining. The pony-tailed Truss had the Saints defence in knots throughout the game with his slashing moves to the basket.
“Buzz is a kid that you kind of let go,” Parmar explained. “I let him go a lot and you have to take the good with the bad and the good is usually better. He's a tough load for anyone to handle because he's 200 pounds and he's quick. We didn't have him at the end there and we still found a way to win, which is surprising.”
The Saints, meanwhile, are adjusting to new coach Bill Disbrow, the 64-year-old warhorse who left a co-coaching position at Vancouver College to take over the St. George's program. Disbrow, of course, made his name in Richmond where he took the Colts to 10 B.C. provincial finals, winning five times from 1985-98, during his 34 years at that school.
Disbrow was lamenting his team's lack of preparation due to injuries and illness that prevented him from conducting full 5-on-5 drills at practice.
“We haven't been able to go against a zone press in practice because we've never had 10 guys,” he explained. “We haven't been able to scrimmage and it shows. There are things we can't do yet but we are going to be good, I think, and I don't think there is any doubt about that. But it's going to take us a while. We know we're going to have a slow start.”
For complete Telus Classic scores and schedules, see www.canadaonefoundation.com and follow the links to Secondary Boys and Secondary Girls.
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