The brand new floor in the Merritt Secondary School gymnasium will play host to an eight-team junior girls basketball tournament this weekend.

Joining the MSS junior and senior girls teams in the 12-game tourney will be hoops squads from St. Ann’s and Valleyview in Kamloops, as well as from Princeton, Nechako Valley and Oliver.

Games get underway Friday at 2 p.m. with the host Panther juniors entertaining the St. Ann’s Crusaders, and wrap up on Saturday afternoon with the championship game at 6:30 p.m.

Merritt Secondary’s junior girls basketball team, coached by Brent Bowden, got its season off to an excellent start at a tournament in Vancouver on the weekend.

The Panthers won two of their three games — defeating the Robert Bateman Secondary Timberwolves 22-17 and the Cambie Crusaders 44-20. The team’s only loss was a narrow 24-20 defeat at the hands of the Tamanawis Wildcats from Surrey.

The MSS junior squad is comprised of seven Grade 10 students and six Grade 9 students.

“Our strengths are our defence, our leadership and our willingness to compete,” said Bowden.