Skip to main content

Annual Luther Invitational Tournament welcomed back to the court


It’s been a long two years since a full fledged tournament has echoed through the gyms at Regina’s Luther College High School.

But the Luther Invitational Tournament (L.I.T.) is hitting the hard court again at full capacity for its 69th annual event.

“I remember watching it in Grade 9 and have just been kind of waiting for this day to play in it and it's finally came,” Isaac Sterttner, Luther’s Grade 12 point guard told CTV.

Sterttner is not alone in missing the tournament over the past two years. While they hosted a version of it in 2022, it was not at its full capacity.

Those students who remember the historical tournament have also since moved on, and so the passing of the torch for traditions rest on the shoulders of those who remain.

Mainly, athletics director and former player and coach, Troy Casper.

Casper explained that there are certain traditions at the school the teams take part in, which is vital to the rebirth of this tournament in all aspects, especially given the impacts pandemic restrictions had on high schools in particular.

“Athletics was really, really hurt in some ways, so that build up, the energy is really created by they want it,” he said. “I think it means a lot for the community, and for our students and for our teams, and all the teams coming to have this opportunity.”

Students at Luther are beginning to understand the magnitude that is one of Western Canada’s longest-standing tournaments, and how being part of it changes their identity.

“I wouldn’t have expected myself to be here out of all places and I think I’m so lucky to have this opportunity,” said Thea Malok, a forward on the women’s team.

“I think it’s just cool that it’s such a long running tournament and I get to be a part of it,” added Anji Otukoya, another forward.

Understanding that L.I.T. is more than just about the game, students across the school are witnessing the community come together around basketball.

“It’s not only a tournament that’s just for the players, it’s for all the students and everyone that comes together as a community to watch,” said Sterttner.

Ani Idowu is a Grade 12 student and the head of media for the tournament. She explained to CTV that the older grades who missed out on the tournament over the past two years told her to get involved, and embrace the tournament for all that it can offer.

“It helps me know who I am better. It helps shape my identity and discover who I am as a person not only at Luther College High School, but as a citizen of Canada, of someone who resides in Saskatchewan,” she said.

“It’s just a long time tournament that’s been rooted in the history of Saskatchewan for so, so long you just become a part of it all,” she added, smiling.

“I didn’t realize it was such a big deal before, so today in Chapel learning all that stuff, it was a little overwhelming, but I’m so excited,” said Lira Zografi, a Grade 10 student who contributed to one of the art murals that will be displayed in the new gym during the tournament.

In addition to the athletics on the court, L.I.T. boasts a theme every year, with beautifully elaborate artwork created by Luther students under the direction of visual arts teacher, Drew Hunter.

“It’s been a bit of a battle I think post COVID, just trying to get kids to go, ‘Here’s the traditions, here’s the volunteerism that comes with the tournament, we need you to come out,’” he said. “I have incredible arts students and am blessed to have kids every year that will put the time in.”

“It feels really nice to be, not only connected to the grades that are here right now but to kind of feel a connection with everyone who’s been here before us and everyone who’s attended the tournament,” added Andie Williams, another Grade 10 student who contributed to the murals.

Normally, only Grade 12 students paint for the tournament, so both feel the honour and the importance associated with their contribution.

Murals don the walls in both gyms, with the new year theme being portrayed in the Semple (newer) gym, and contributions dating back to 2003 in the old gym.

While some may argue that having the new gym takes away from the antiquated memories of the long-standing tournament, that doesn’t seem to be the case according to staff.

“People who have been here before, they can come back into the old gym, which we’re still using, it’s kind of the cathedral of basketball, where everyone houses their memories,” said Hunter.

Casper agreed.

"All it does is, it gives you more, so there’s nothing lost.”

The tournament runs Feb. 9 to Feb. 11 with eight teams participating in both men’s and women’s basketball.

The teams span from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba. Top Stories

Stay Connected