For two local teams, the Centennial Top-10 Shootout tournament has 'momentum' written all over it.
It's the kind of event that can give that playoff preparation an extra layer of experience. It can also kick-start a midseason stall.
For both the Riverside Rapids and Gleneagle Talons - the two senior girls AAA squads who've made appearances among the provincial Top-10 poll this season - the Centennial tourney is a major test.
The two squads kick-off the 16team series on Thursday, 9: 30 a.m. when Gleneagle plays No. 2-ranked Handsworth in the blue gym, and Riverside faces Kelowna at 10 a.m. in the red gym. Terry Fox, the other local team in competition, plays No. 3 South Kamloops at 3: 15 p.m.
For the Rapids, who were tied with Kelowna in the latest ratings at No. 8 in B.C., the aim will be to add another layer onto a fairly hefty resume.
"It's a great chance to play four games in 48 hours against some of the best in the province," noted Riverside coach Paul Langford. "It's a big test, but all the teams look forward to it."
The Rapids are coming off a huge test last week, when they went 0-3 in Chilliwack's tourney, running into a trio of fellow Top-10 members.
They fell 60-52 in overtime to Handsworth, where Vanessa Gee returned to the lineup and scored 16 points in about half a game of action.
In their second match, the Rapids squared off against Kelowna for the third time this season, and lost 64-54. Desha Puri was the top Rapids shooter with 13 points. They closed it out with a 70-64 defeat at the hands of No. 5-rated Argyle, where Puri tallied 15 points and Gee chipped in 13.
"It was the first time we've been healthy this year and had a full lineup," Langford said. "We got to do some different things but we weren't able to pull out a win."
Having both Shae Sanchez and Gee back in green-and-white should be a big boost for the No. 8-ranked Rapids.
Gleneagle, meanwhile, captured the Archbishop Carney Classic girls tourney title on Saturday, edging the host Stars 47-39 in the final. Grade 10 guard Brittani Yee led Gleneagle with 13 points.
It came on the heels of wins over Sahali (45-33) and Kitsilano (51-33), where Yee topped all shooters with 17 and 12 points, respectively. Her efforts earned her tourney MVP honours, while Grade 12 sister Breanna was named to the first all-star team.
Also turning in standout work for the Talons were Jenna Bentley and Chiara Bordignon on defence.
The Top 10 continues with games on Friday, with the final slated for a 4: 30 p.m. tip-off on Saturday.