Starting tomorrow night the sound of dribbling basketballs will be echoing through the hallways of all three local high school in the highly anticipated Cochrane Classic Basketball Tournament.

The community-wide tournament opens Thursday night with junior teams taking to the courts and come Friday the tournament is in full gear when senior teams join in.

In 11 years the Classic has grown from a Cochrane High tournament of 16 teams to a true community event involving all local high schools. Now 32 teams--eight in each division of junior boys and girls and senior boys and girls--participate and there's a blend of  2A, 3A and 4A teams in the mix.

Organizer and founder Doug Jensen, who coaches the junior girls' team at Cochrane High, had aspirations from the start to make it an inclusive community collaboration.

"It was originally designed to make a bunch of connections between the three schools as well as some organizations within the community and we continue to do that. It’s an opportunity to showcase the kids’ talents throughout the community and it’s an event we look forward to every year."

Many of the local players from competing high schools are friends outside of the sport.

"It’s a great weekend for them to also connect in a more school-based athletic way. I know there’s a little bit of trash talk that goes back and forth between those kids but it’s a fun weekend for those kids to share together."

One of the highlights of the tournament is the opportunity it provides local teams to play in front of the student body, says Jensen.

"We fill the bleachers and a bunch of kids who typically don’t see basketball games get to come and see what it’s all about. It’s also kind of a big moment for the kids when they get to play in front of their peers."

All four championship games go late Saturday afternoon.

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