A local youth basketball club earned Merritt a second place podium spot at their season opening exhibition in Vancouver this weekend, with the Merritt Mavericks taking home silver from the Vancouver Tip-off tournament.

The U17 Mavericks attended the tournament in Langley from April 21 to 23, facing off against dozens of other teams from around the province. Their first win of the season came against Dime Valley, with a final score of 68-48. This winning effort was followed by another 20 point lead, with the Mavericks beating the David Shepard Saints 48-28. Although their next game was a 57-54 loss to the New West Elite, the Mavericks still qualified for the championship game.

The final game ended at 52-31, with the Mavericks taking second place in the tournament behind the victorious Vancouver Drive. 

“This is a great start to an ambitious season as these boys set out to break the 42 year provincial championship drought for Merritt,” said Jamie Caccia, a Mavericks parent volunteer.

“An invitation was sent to Mayor Goetz to attend last weekend’s tournament, but unfortunately the Mayor had prior obligations.”

The Mavericks have hosted a number of fundraisers towards their regular operating costs throughout the season, and towards their goal of attending an international basketball tournament in Hawaii, with the team planning several more. 

The latest one will include a ‘jail and bail’ fundraiser with Merritt’s mayor, involving the mayor’s ‘arrest’ and subsequent fundraising of bail funds, which will go to team coffers. 

“A source close to the team disclosed there is some frustration at the Mayor’s absence, and some of the more superstitious players indicated the teams’ loss may have been due his absence,” joked Caccia, alluding to the team’s upcoming fundraiser, which will take place later in the week.

The raised funds will support the team’s goal to attend the Hawaii tournament in December of this year.

“They are vigorously training and vigorously fundraising to achieve some high, yet attainable goals,” added Caccia. “These guys know you don’t break records by hoping to compete, you break records by training to win. We look forward to an exciting season! Go, Mavericks!”

For more information on the team, and for the latest on the ‘jail and bail’ fundraiser, visit their Facebook page by searching ‘U17 Merritt Mavericks Basketball Team Updates.’