Provincial championship dreams were quickly dashed for the seven Surrey teams playing at the B.C. High School Boys Basketball tournament last week.
On opening day Wednesday (March 4), all Surrey-area squads lost in the first round, across all divisions, including the four teams playing in the top-tier 4A division.
The tourney’s four divisions are weighted according to school enrolment numbers, from 1A (lowest) to 4A (highest).
In the 16-team 4A bracket, Wednesday’s opening-round losers included Surrey reps Tamanawis Wildcats, Fleetwood Park Dragons, Holy Cross Crusaders and Frank Hurt Hornets.
In 2A play, Surrey Christian Falcons and Southridge Storm both lost, as did E’cole Gabrielle-Roy Phenix, the lone Surrey-area team in the 1A division. No Surrey team made it to provincials in the 3A bracket.
The four-day tournament continued at Langley Events Centre until Saturday (March 7).
On Wednesday morning, Tamanawis fell 81-79 to Oak Bay. The eighth/ninth game provided some late-game drama as the No. 8 Oak Bay Bays’ needed a buzzer-beating lay-up to get past the No. 9 Tamanawis Wildcats, according to a game report from tournament organizers. Oak Bay was up 24 in the third quarter only to watch the Wildcats claw their way back into the game to tie the score at 79. But Oak Bay’s Jaime Molins scored the go-ahead hoop on a lay-up with 0.3 seconds remaining to send the Vancouver Island zone champs through to the quarter-finals. Lucas Maffia led Oak Bay with 35 points while Chris Horwood had 15. The Wildcats were led by the duo of Varris Janda (29 points) and Saim Bhutta (27 points).
Later, Vancouver College Fighting Irish took care of Fleetwood Park. The duo of Hunter Cruz-Dumont and Jacob Holt combined for 51 points, a game report noted. Cruz-Dumont had 27 points and five rebounds and Holt had 24 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots for the fourth-seed Irish. Rav Randhawa led the No. 12 Dragons with 11 points.
Claremont Spartans beat Holy Cross Crusaders, who won the all-Surrey South Fraser regionals played at Tamanawis in late February. Ethan Boag hit the game-winning shot with 7.3 seconds to play as the Claremont Spartans knocked off the Holy Cross Crusaders 69-67. Boag’s basket gave him a team-high 19 points (to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds) as the No. 11 Spartans defeated the No. 6 Crusaders. Uyi Ologhola had 25 points, a dozen rebounds, seven steals and three assists for the Crusaders.
Also in 4A, the third-ranked Kelowna Owls overpowered the No. 14 Frank Hurt Hornets 104-35. Johnathon Haughton led the Owls with 21 points. Marcellus Linnen and Sartaj Bhuller scored eight points apiece for the Hornets.
In the 2A division, Abbotsford Christian Knights spiked Surrey Christian Falcons from contention in the opening round. Abbotsford Christian received 25 points and eight rebounds form Zachary Meinen and 17 points and 10 rebounds from Aaron Van Belle as the No. 4 Knights defeated the No. 12 Surrey Christian Falcons. Spencer Langelaar added 25 points, six rebounds and three steals as well. The Falcons’ David Liu led his team with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Also in 2A, George Elliot Coyotes topped Southridge Storm by a score of 79-60. The Coyotes may have entered as the No. 14 seed but with five returnees from last year’s silver medal team, the Coyotes pulled off the biggest upset of day one, taking down the No. 3 seed Southridge Storm. The Coyotes were up 10 at the half and doubled the lead in the third quarter to send the Fraser South zone champions to the consolation side of the bracket. Triston Hearn led a balanced attack with 17 points as the Coyotes had five players with at least 14 points. Graham Block led the Storm with 20 points and six rebounds.
In the 1A division, it was Fernie Falcons 86, E’cole Gabrielle-Roy Phenix 74. A 51-point first half set the tone as the No. 4 Fernie Falcons advanced to the quarter-final round. Asher Hannemann had a monster game with 32 points, 12 rebounds seven assists and six steals. Nesta Malcom added 28 points and six rebounds. The Phenix were led by Cyrian Labert’s 16 points while Dan Mutunga had 13 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
In the end, Burnaby South took the 4A title with a 70-58 win over Kelowna, G.W. Graham topped Duchess Park for the 3A championship, Charles Hays beat King George for the 2A title, and Unity Christian edged Highroad Academy for the 1A championship.