Sure, making hoops and winning games is part of it, but the driving goal behind the Cochrane Classic Basketball Tournament is about bringing the local high school basketball community together.

Teams from all three local high schools continue to participate in the highly anticipated 12th annual edition that kicks off Thursday night when junior basketball teams at all three schools take to the courts. The senior teams kick off their play on Friday morning.

In all, 32 high school teams, eight in each division, are participating. It's formed mainly of 3A school teams, but there are also 2A and 4A school teams coming.

Chair Doug Jensen says the tournament is one of the highlights of the season for travelling teams, but it was created with the enjoyment of local basketball enthusiasts in mind.

"The main goal of the tournament is to make some connections between the three high schools," says Jensen. "We typically have some rivalries amongst us, but this is an opportunity for us to work together. It provides an opportunity for the kids in our basketball programs to showcase their talent and be in the spotlight among their peer groups and have a lot of fun over the weekend."

The community continues to embrace the tournament.

"Anybody that we work with throughout the tournament is personally excited to be involved and eager to be a part of it," says Jensen.

The junior boys and girls championship games are being hosted at Bow Valley High School late Saturday afternoon (girls, 4 p.m.; boys, 5:45 p.m.).

That same day at 5:45 p.m., the St. Timothy High School is hosting the senior girls' championship game, and the senior boys' final will be held at Cochrane High School.