Having fun at Walnut Grove Secondary School was a slam dunk for the Langley Warriors and Special Olympics basketball teams from across the Lower Mainland last weekend.
The Warriors were the host program of Special Olympics BC (SOBC) Langleyâ€™s inaugural January Jam.
The tournament tipped off with opening ceremonies early Saturday morning and continued through to medal presentations on Sunday afternoon.
Medals and trophies were handed out just after 4 p.m. Sunday, right after the â€œAâ€ Division gold medal game was played in WGSSâ€™s large gym.
Teams of various levels from Coquitlam, Burnaby Vancouver, Surrey, North Shore, and Abbotsford competed, joined by the Warriors A and B teams, and the Langley Warriors CeaBees 1 and 2.
Gold medalists in each division were:
A â€“ Langley Warriors
B â€“ Burnaby Purple Panthers
C â€“ Vancouver Grizzlies
The Warriors â€œAâ€ team continued its run of dominance at the January Jam.
The Warriors won gold at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver and, in 2013, captured gold at the SOBC Summer Games in Langley.
At the national Games, the Warriors including Sean Annan, Carson Buzdegan, Chris Lawrie, Kyle Litfin, Trevin Martel, Kailyn Potomak, Tyrone Liebenberg, Alastair Singh, Andrew Wainwright, and Matthew Williams took top spot in the four-team A Division, as Special Olympics basketball debuted at a national level.
The Warriors defeated Manitoba in the championship game, in what head coach Kurc Buzdegan called â€œone of the most emotional games Iâ€™ve ever been involved in.â€
â€œThis is a good team; the best team in the country and we proved that at the national games,â€ Warriors â€œAâ€ head coach Kurc Buzdegan said. â€œThe competition is getting better. The only way you get better is playing teams that are better than you, and thatâ€™s always a challenge for the Warriors. Weâ€™re going to see challenges, and weâ€™re getting more push back than weâ€™ve had before from these other teams.â€
Asked if the January Jam will be an annual event, Buzdegan answered, â€œOh gosh, yes.â€
â€œIt took an unbelievable amount of work from every volunteer,â€ he added. â€œWe have such a wonderful group of volunteers and weâ€™ve never hosted anything before quite, like this. We are already getting emails in, and weâ€™re already talking about what weâ€™re doing to do next year.â€