After making school history just six days earlier, the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers didn’t let up at the Fraser Valley Senior 4A Boys high school basketball tournament, placing a very impressive second in the largest zone in the province.
The Panthers, after clinching a berth at the B.C. tournament for the first time since 1953 earlier in the week, defeated the Semiahmoo Totems 96-79 in an all-Surrey semifinal game Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.
Saturday evening, they gave the eventual champion Yale Lions a test before falling 88-78.
“It was a very positive game,” said Panthers head coach Raj Bagry after Saturday’s game. “This is big, and the boys played hard. Yale is a very good team, very well-coached, great kids on the floor.
“But we have a bigger game coming up in a couple of weeks.”
The Panthers trailed by 10 points at the half, and were down by 14 late in the third quarter before a 13-point run had them to within one with roughly eight minutes to play. The Lions regrouped, went 11-for-15 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, and held on to their lead.
Six-foot-five forward Iqwinder Gill with 14 points, guard Brett Norris with 17, and forward Justin Mason with 16 paced the Panthers offense.
Norris earned a second-team all-star selection, while Gill and Mason were first-team choices. All three Grade 12 players earned praise from Bagry for their leadership and play during the tournament.
Lord Tweedsmuir, now ranked 10th in the province, among 4A teams, will await the draw for the 16-team B.C. championship tournament March 11-14, also at the Langley Events Centre.
“Hopefully, we don’t get a shaky draw to start,” Bagry said with a laugh. “But we should have a good draw. After the first round, it’s going to be a war.
Any way you look at it, you have to beat the best. It’s going to be tough, so we have to play tough.”
The Semiahmoo Totems will also be in Langley for the B.C. championships after they sputtered to a fourth place finish at the Fraser Valley tournament.
After putting up more than 100 points in two victories early in the tournament to secure their first B.C. championship appearance in 38 years, Semiahmoo lost twice and finished fourth in the Fraser Valley.
After their semifinal loss to Lord Tweedsmuir, they were drubbed 103-70 by the Terry Fox Ravens on Saturday.
“It’s a little bit of complacency, a little bit of people thinking we’re going to the BC’s so we don’t have to compete as much anymore,” shrugged Totems head coach Ed Lefurgy. “I’m really worried about it, so we need to address that. We need to get back playing loose and playing for fun, cheering on our teammates.”
It was the second half that did Semiahmoo in against the Ravens. The South Surrey school led 24-23 after one quarter and trailed just 44-37 at the half.
But Terry Fox hammered the Totems for 33 points in the third quarter, draining nine three-point shots for a 24-point cushion with 10 minutes to play.
Top scorers for Semiahmoo included first-team all-star Patrick Dujmovic with18 points, and second-team all-star Brian Spanier and Elias Ellison with 14 apiece.
Aside from the play of his side Saturday, a fourth place finish won’t help the Totems when the draw is announced for the provincial tournament.
“We’re not gonna have the best draw so we have to get back to practice and change our attitude a little bit,” said Lefurgy. “We got to get back to what made us successful, and we haven’t done any of the things that made us successful for the last two games.”