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Zone basketball tourney comes to Olds

The Olds High School senior basketball teams will be hosting the 3A South Central zone tournament for both boys and girls this week, with the only question being how long both host squads will be around.
Olds Spartans forward Justin Ibsen takes the ball up against a Carstairs defender during last week’s league semi-final in Didsbury.
Olds Spartans forward Justin Ibsen takes the ball up against a Carstairs defender during last week’s league semi-final in Didsbury.

The Olds High School senior basketball teams will be hosting the 3A South Central zone tournament for both boys and girls this week, with the only question being how long both host squads will be around.

With both draws loaded with talented teams the Spartans boys and girls teams will be in tough to have an impact on the draw.

For the senior girls team the tournament begins Wednesday but on the road in Brooks as first-round games are played at the home of the higher seeds. The top ranked Buffaloes are considered favourites to land one of two berths in 3A provincials up for grabs this weekend.

If the Spartans win the game they'll play Thursday at 6 p.m. on their home court, but a loss will see them play at 2 p.m. on the main court at the health and wellness centre. Either way they'll play either the winner or loser of the Springbank – George McDougall matchup.

In the double knockout draw, any two losses eliminates a team from zones.

Girls coach Karla Shultz hopes fans will come enjoy high quality basketball this week and support the sport's growth in the community, particularly in the likely event of a Thursday afternoon home game.

“We will be filling the stands with the students and would really like to invite the community to come out and watch,” she enthused.

There will be an admission charge for the games.

The girls draw will also feature Highwood of High River, Holy Trinity of Okotoks, along with the winner of play-in games between Chestermere and Strathmore, and Canmore and Cochrane. Those games took place either Monday or Tuesday night with the losers bowing out of zones.

On the boys side, the Spartans – ranked 10th in the zone – will play Brooks on Tuesday night for the right to qualify into the main draw on Wednesday. The winner of the game travels to Chestermere for the first-round matchup of the final tournament.

The top boys seed heading into the tourney is Cochrane – who'll face the winner of Highwood and Strathmore in the first round – along with Springbank, Holy Trinity, Canmore and George McDougall.

The zone title games are set for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday evening.

In league play, both Spartan teams qualified for the Chinook's Edge South Athletic Association finals with the boys playing heavily favoured Didsbury on Monday night, while the Spartan girls host the Sundre girls tonight at the Ralph Klein Centre.

Last week, the girls won 57-47 over Didsbury to advance to the final while the boys upset Carstairs 54-44 to advance to the final. The score from Monday's league final was unavailable at press time.