In front of jam-packed bleachers, the Salmon Arm senior Golds basketball team played against Kelowna Secondary on Monday evening.
Facing off against what is arguably one of the best high school teams in the country, SAS knew it would be a tough challenge to contain the Owls.
KSS is one of the strongest high school teams this province has ever seen.
They haven’t lost to a B.C. team this year, and have only had four exhibition losses to high schools from New York, California, Washington and Ontario.
The atmosphere was tense in the first quarter, and the tension was high as the Golds struggled to keep pace with the Owls’ quick transition game, falling behind by more than 20 after the first frame.
After the whirlwind opening quarter, second-year guards Josh Kujat and Dylan Olson provided stability on both sides of the ball.
The Golds calmed down in the second quarter and played their game, tying the quarter but still trailing by 20.
Four baskets from beyond the arch after the half saw the Golds win the third quarter by four points, but they were unable to even the score.
Leading the way offensively for the Golds was Kujat, who scored a team high 15 points, while Olson chipped in with 11.
Head coach Rhys Waters gave his starters a rest in the fourth frame and Kelowna took advantage of the less-experienced Golds players, going on to win 99-57.
“While the score looks like a blow out, we played pretty well. KSS beats top 10 AAAA teams by 30 to 40, so we actually feel we did a nice job hanging with them,” Waters said.
“Obviously the first and fourth quarter got way out of control but our top end definitely played with them, and our two players considering post-secondary basketball showed they can play with the best guards in B.C.”
Waters said his side’s goal was to keep it to a 20-point game through three quarters, which they accomplished.
The Golds will return to league action on Thursday for a home game against Rutland.
The Jewels will begin the evening’s games at 5 p.m., and the Golds will start at 6:45 p.m.
The Golds’ final home game of the regular season will be on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Sullivan Campus gym. Tip off is at 1:45 p.m.