For the first time in the history of the Luther Invitational Basketball Tournament (LIT), a full eight-team girls’ tournament will be taking place.
Girls were first given a chance to participate in the tournament six years ago when two teams faced off.
When a brand new gym was built about four years ago, Luther Collegiate High School had the space to hold a girls tournament.
The groundwork for the tournament began two years ago and since then, the girls’ tournament has grown from two teams to eight.
“We’ve always wanted it I think,” said Troy Casper, LIT director. “When you have one gym and 16 teams, it’s really hard to do that.”
Casper said they could have got around the space issue by hosting the girls’ tournament at a separate school, but then it wouldn’t be a true Luther Invitational.
He said the girls’ tournament will bring a new level of excitement, not just for the student-athletes but for their parents as well.
“They want to see their kids playing at that level and they want to see their kids playing their hearts out and for their team.”
Nicole Powers is the assistant coach of the Campbell Collegiate Tartans girls’ team and attended Luther for her high school years.
“It was just a boys’ only tournament.”
She said she is excited for the girls on her team to experience the entire competition.
“Having this is going to get more attention on female sports and I think that’s fantastic.”
Powers said the success of the University of Regina women’s basketball team sets the bar for their high school athletes.
“I know a lot of our girls aspire to play post-secondary.”
Powers said they have one player who has committed to a university with another one being scouted.
Grade 12 Luther student Logan Lindskog is also excited to be able to play a full tournament this year.
“I’ve been here since Grade 9 and it’s always been a boys’ tournament and this year’s the first year people are looking at the girls and are like ‘you’re equal,’” Lindskog said.
Lindskog said the tournament could inspire younger girls that they could play in the historic tournament as well.
The tournament gets underway Thursday afternoon and will end on Saturday.