It’s a tradition dating back 13 years but, to high school basketball players in Kamloops, it’s mostly a chance to earn city bragging rights.
The Fulton Cup, the annual preseason city basketball championships, starts today and runs through Friday at the Tournament Capital Centre and TRU Gym. This year’s tournament will feature 32 teams in four divisions — junior girls, junior boys, senior girls and senior boys.
The fun kicks off at noon, with three games, all involving South Kamloops Titans teams. The Titans senior girls will take on Ashcroft at TRU, while, over at the TCC, the South Kam junior boys play Ashcroft’s junior boys and the Titans junior girls take on the Kamloops Christian Eagles.
All told, there will be 16 games today, with others to start at 1:30, 1:45, 3:15, 4:45, 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. The schedule will follow the same times on Thursday along with most of Friday.
Two of Friday’s finals — senior girls and junior boys — will be played at 6:30 p.m., with the other two — junior girls and senior boys — to begin at 8:15 p.m. All finals will be played at the TCC.
This year’s senior boys tournament appears to be wide open.
Games will start at 1:30 p.m., when the NorKam Saints, who finished second in 2011, play the Chase Trojans at the TCC. The Sa-Hali Sabres will play Ashcroft at 3:15 p.m., at TRU, before the Valleyview Vikings meet the defending-champion St. Ann’s Crusaders at the TCC at 4:45 p.m.
The day’s final senior boys game will pit the Westsyde Whundas and Barriere Cougars at the TCC at 8 p.m.
The Titans, the No. 1 AAA team in the province, appear to be the favourites in the senior girls draw, although star centre Emma Wolfram will miss the tournament to attend a national junior team camp in Toronto.
South Kam play Ashcroft in the noon game at TRU, with the Sabres to play the Cougars at the TCC at 1:30 p.m. Also on tap today is Westsyde and St. Ann’s, at the TCC at 4:45 p.m., and NorKam and Valleyview at the TCC at 8 p.m.
The tournament is sponsored by Fulton and Co., and the provincial AA tournament committee. There are bursaries up for grabs as well — as many as 16 postsecondary bursaries for senior players, with a possible 16 for camps for junior players.
Over the past 15 years, more than $70,000 has been given to athletes at the Fulton Cup and the provincial AA championships, which run in March.