FOR the second consecutive year, the St. Patrick Celtics are provincial champions.
The Celtics outlasted Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Dolphins 91-80 on Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, in the championship final of the BC School Sports 3A Boys Basketball Provincial Tournament.
The Dolphins led early – they were up eight late in the first quarter – but the reigning champions (and No. 1) seed, chipped away, cutting the deficit to one by halftime and then surged ahead with a strong second half as they outscored their opponent 53-39 over the final 20 minutes.
St. Patrick head coach Nap Santos said his team did a great job of executing their half-court offence as the Dolphins did an excellent job of sprinting back on defence, to take away the Celtics chance to transition.
And it was the dual threat of Grade 12 guard Irish Coquia and Grade 11 guard/forward Jovin Sunner as both Celtics players scored 30 points apiece in the victory. St. Patrick also took advantage from the free throw line as they sank 12 of 16 attempts, while the Dolphins only made four of their 11 opportunities form the charity stripe.
The Dolphins – the No. 2 seed – were led by 25 points from Grade 10 guard Frank Linder while older brother Luke Linder (Grade 12) finished with 22 points, despite badly injuring his ankle in the opening moments of the game. The pain was so bad post-game that he had to be carried on stage to receive his silver medal and all-star award. Luke Linder entered the championship game averaging 45 points per game.
For St. Patrick, the core of the team – many of whom have known each other since Grade 2 – have now won three provincial titles in the past three seasons, as they were also winners of the 2020 Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament.
Coquia won his second straight MVP (and third dating back to Junior in 2020) while Sunner was named the Championship Player of the Game.
Kaden Carrion (St. Patrick), Gabe Vig (M.E.I,), Dylan King (Lord Byng), Harvir Hothi (North Delta) and Luke Linder (Dover Bay) were chosen First Team All-Stars. The Second Team All-Stars were Atawa Baraba (Byrne Creek), Kaden Nelson (Steveston-London), Frank Linder (Dover Bay), Gavin Archer (Argyle) and Gaurev Bains (College Heights).
The M.E.I. Eagles’ Spencer Tatlock was selected the Most Outstanding Defensive Player and the North Delta Huskies were chosen as the Most Sportsmanlike Team.
In the bronze-medal game, the Lord Byng Grey Ghosts defeated North Delta 81-47.