Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Sports
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

BSSI big draw in Western Canada

Even Don Thomson has to admit he didn't think his tournament would get to be like this.

As the Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational gets set to kick off Year 7 of its run today as one of Manitoba's most successful high school basketball tournaments, the head coach of the Neelin Spartans says he didn't envision that it would earn the status it has today.

"You know what, to be honest, not really," said Thomson, who is the chief organizer of the 32-team event that will welcome teams from Manitoba, Northern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. "At the time when we discussed merging the Neelin (tournament) and the Brandon Sun, at no point did I think it would be as popular as it is. ... But, you know, a lot of people like to get (their teams) out of town and get the team-building thing going right away."

The BSSI is the largest tournament of its kind in Western Canada and also one of the largest in the country, providing teams five games in three days and making Brandon the epicentre for hoops in Manitoba for the weekend.

"They really love being a part of it and getting a chance to play two games a day and get five games early in the year," Thomson said. "... There is a lot of new faces, but to be honest, I think that spreads the word of mouth and the popularity by other coaches who have gone back to Regina or Thunder Bay and now it's something that people don't wanna miss."

The defending Victoria Inn Division champion Dakota Lancers return to the tournament, but do so without their MVP from a year ago, swingman Philip Labongo, who is now a University of Calgary Dino. And in the Tri-Star Screen Printing Division, there will be a new champion as the Shaftesbury Titans are not back to defend their crown. Thomson has moved his Spartans into that second tier believing that his young group is better suited for a chance to use this tournament to grow and mature.

"Our biggest thing right now is that we're as young as we've been in the last 10 years," Thomson said. "With five Grade 10s and two Grade 11s playing, our biggest battle is whoever we play, can we compete? As long as we're competing well, then we're going to have our success playing at whatever level it is. Those are the small goals you shoot for."

The Kelvin Clippers and Oak Park Raiders will likely go in as favourites in the Victoria Inn Division. The Clippers, returning for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 2004, have arguably the province's most coveted recruit in 6-foot-6 forward Michael Thorne-Finch as well as a host of complementary pieces, while the two-time champion Raiders also have depth and one of Manitoba's most dynamic guards in Grade 10 point Junior Sesay.

The Spartans get the tournament started with a 2:10 p.m. contest on their home floor tomorrow against the Killarney Raiders. In all there will be 80 games played, including 48 in Thursday and Friday's round robin, setting up Saturday's playoffs.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 8, 2010 B1

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Even Don Thomson has to admit he didn't think his tournament would get to be like this.

As the Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational gets set to kick off Year 7 of its run today as one of Manitoba's most successful high school basketball tournaments, the head coach of the Neelin Spartans says he didn't envision that it would earn the status it has today.

Please subscribe to view full article.

Already subscribed? Login to view full article.

Not yet a subscriber? Click here to sign up

Even Don Thomson has to admit he didn't think his tournament would get to be like this.

As the Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational gets set to kick off Year 7 of its run today as one of Manitoba's most successful high school basketball tournaments, the head coach of the Neelin Spartans says he didn't envision that it would earn the status it has today.

Subscription required to view full article.

A subscription to the Brandon Sun Newspaper is required to view this article. Please update your user information if you are already a newspaper subscriber.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media