The 56th annual Snowball Classic basketball tournament is back at Abbotsford Senior Secondary today (Wednesday), with a total of 12 teams battling it out.
The school’s head coach, Prentice Lenz, said it should be another great year.
“We have some phenomenal teams in this year’s tournament at all levels,” he said. “It’s going to be a really fun environment.”
This is the 11th year Lenz has been involved with the event, and he said it wouldn’t be possible without help from the school and the community.
“From the school’s standpoint, it’s amazing the support we get from the students, staff and administration,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to host something like this, and the Abby community loves basketball and have been very gracious at attending – it really makes it special that the gym is always full. The kids just love coming here.”
Tournament organizers once again are bringing in a top team from the United States, and this year’s visitors are New York’s Mount Vernon Knights.
“I think we’re the only tournament in B.C. that does something like this,” Lenz said, about the American teams. “People like to come out and watch these kids play. Fairfax was incredible last year and Mount Vernon should be great too.”
Lenz pointed out that there is also a strong contingent from B.C. at the tournament. The number-one ranked Kelowna Owls are playing, along with top 10 teams Winston Churchill and Walnut Grove.
“I don’t think Kelowna has lost to a Canadian team yet this year,” he said, pointing out the Owls have also toppled some American teams. “Kelowna is fantastic, but Churchill and Walnut Grove are both really good. Yale and Mouat from here have also been playing exceptionally well.”
As for his team, Lenz said the Panthers are there to learn and compete. Chase Claypool is the Panthers’ key player, but Lenz said he’d like to see some of his younger talent step up too.
“Chase is the only returning person from last year who played significant minutes for us,” he said. “We have lots of new players, and this is a great environment for them to test themselves.”
For more information, visit snowballbasketball.com.