The Kelowna Owls' odds of being a serious contender for a B.C. 3A boys basketball championship have taken another major blow.
On the heels of losing starting guard John Katerberg earlier this month because of an ineligibility issue, the Kelowna Secondary School team will be without Buzz Truss, its leading scorer and arguably top all-around player, for the remainder of the season.
Truss, averaging 18 points per game, had his left ankle broken during the Owls' first game of the Emerald Tournament against the Pitt Meadows Marauders at Vancouver College, Thurs-day. He had surgery to repair the fracture on Friday.
Running up court on a transition, Truss appeared to step on the foot of a Pitt Meadows opponent and twisted his ankle while his entire weight was shifted to the one leg.
Although still favoured to win the Okanagan Valley championship, the Owls, listed No. 7 in the province going into the Emerald tournament, will no doubt drop in the rankings.
Head coach Harry Parmar, somewhat snake-bitten when it comes to players' injuries during the past years, tried to take the latest setback in stride.
"We can't replace Buzz and all that he does for the team both offensively and defensively, but we have to go forward and hope that his teammates will step up and ease the blow," Parmar said after a weekend in which his team lost both games at the Emerald after the Owls defeated Pitt Meadows 64-57 (Truss scored 18 points).
"Obviously, we'll have to re-evaluate what we do offence and defence. Our starting lineup each week will depend on who looks the best in practice. We have a few guys who will all have an opportunity to fill in and gain quality minutes. And of course we'll need the current starters to find ways to take their game to an even higher level."
Owls forward, Malcolm Hlady appears to have taken up the challenge already, scoring 53 points in his team's three games at the Emerald. He was named to the tournament's first all-star team.
Following the win over Pitt, the Owls looked like a dejected lot against the No. 3 Walnut Grove Gators of Langley, who breezed to a 95-57 win. Cooper Simson led the Owls with 19 points to go along with Hlady's 16.
The Owls looked much better in their final game of the weekend, but still dropped a 56-48 decision to the defending B.C. champion Terry Fox Ravens of Port Coquitlam.
Hlady scored 21 points and Joel Burma finished with 12.