The high school basketball season in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district hits full stride this week, with the first running of the Goulet Memorial Classic tournament at Pitt Meadows secondary.
“We’re excited we can run our tournament again,” said Pitt Meadows head coach Bruno Chu of the renamed Air Show tourney.
His team will tip off their tournament on Thursday at noon, and this game is traditionally played in front of a packed gymnasium, with Pitt kids painted in green, banging on garbage can drums, and having a great time as they cheer on their team.
The event has not been held for two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is our first annual Goulet Memorial Classic,” said Chu. “We want to recognize his more than 30 years of coaching at Pitt Meadows.”
“He did so much – our gym is the house that Goulet built,” he added. “It’s a special place. I’m honoured to be there, and carry on the tradition.”
Hailed by the basketball community as one of the greatest coaches in B.C. history, Goulet passed away in March of 2021, at the age of 74.
Goulet was a high school boys basketball coach for more than 50 years, including 39 at Pitt Meadows. Along the way he earned a spot in the Basketball B.C. Hall of Fame and won the Prime Minister’s Volunteer award. He also won five provincial championships, including three at Pitt Meadows.
Chu heads a hometown team that has played about .500 so far this season, although he has put together a challenging exhibition schedule for them.
Pitt will be led by Grade 12 point guard Daniel Kalinich, who has been averaging 27 points per game so far this season, and Chu calls him “our main guy.”
Chu also has a pair of outstanding Grade 11s in Hayden Cook, who stands out for his hard-nosed play, and Jacob Ogmundson as a “phenomenal” outside shooter.
Six-foot-two Grade 12 Jan Roland Apordo battles in the paint, and is one of the tallest players on a squad that lacks big men.
“We’re a run-and-gun team,” said Chu, adding that they do a lot of damage with outside shooting.
The tournament will start Thursday with the Maple Ridge Ramblers taking on the Caledonia Kermodes of Terrace in the 10:15 a.m. game on Thursday, and that will be followed by the feature game with the hosts against Port Moody at noon.
The tournament championship game is scheduled for Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
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