On paper, the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers placed ninth at the 32-team Telus Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Championship.
But on the court, the Surrey squad proved they are one of the best in B.C.
The Panthers were upset 54-41 Saturday by the Okanagan Mission Huskies of Kelowna in the second round of the tournament at the Langley Events Centre. But in the four other games, they dominated the opposition, winning by an average of 38 points.
“I look back at this season and we went 36-3 and at one time we were ranked number one in the province,” said Panthers coach Drew Gallagher. “We were in the top three most of the season. And the two teams in the final (Sir Charles Tupper Tigers and Burnaby South Rebels), we beat them both. So for us, it’s an unbelievable season.”
The top seed in the tournament, Lord Tweedsmuir made short work of the Richmond Colts Saturday morning, winning the first-round game 86-40. But later in the day, they were upset by the 16th-ranked Huskies and their championship hopes were dashed.
“I give all the credit to our opponent, they made us do things we didn’t want to do,” said Gallagher.
After the loss, the best the Panthers could do was a ninth-place finish, but three three consecutive wins were needed to accomplish that.
“I was very proud of the character check from our boys, Gallagher said. “We came back out (after the loss) and said starting now it’s a new tournament, and we want to go out losing just one game. I was proud of the effort from all 14 players.”
Tweedsmuir began their run through the consolation round with a 76-44 romp past the Argyle Pipers, then cruised past the Charles Hays Hurricanes of Prince Rupert 73-29.
And on Saturday afternoon, they went on a 17-1 run to start the game on their way to a 65-39 win over the St. Patrick Celtics of Vancouver.
Four players scored in double digits, with Elijah Devison leading the way with 14 points. Arjun Samra, who was selected to the tournament’s second all-star team, netted 13 points with Alex Le adding 11 and Austin Swedish scoring 10.
All 14 players on the Lord Tweedsmuir roster will move up to the senior ranks next season.
“These kids have a bright future, and they’re going to work hard in the offseason,” said Gallgaher. “Hopefully, the one loss motivates them to work even harder.”