FOR the first time since it was constructed, the Langley Events Centre was home to the BC High School Boys AA Basketball Championships and its 32 games in just 3 days featuring the 16 best teams in the province.
It didn’t take long for things to heat up as R.C. Palmer (2) and Delview (15) faced off in the second game of the tournament with Delview taking Palmer to the limit but were unable to hold Antonio Jhuty down as he put up an astonishing 46 points up in the 81-75 win while making each of his 13 free throws.
On the other side, Delview standout Jaiten Rana put up as many points as he had minutes with 34 on the day while hitting 3 from beyond the arch and would end up leading the tournament in three-pointers with 18.
Later on in the tournament Rana would also put up 52 points in a consolation round win against DP Todd (6), the most points by anyone in any of the four tournaments at the LEC this week.
That same morning saw the South Okanagan Hornets (7) take down Raiders from Highland Secondary (10) Gurkamal Dhaliwal led his team to victory by scoring over half of his team’s 94 points by putting up 50 of his own while going 11 for 21 at the three lines.
So when RC Palmer and South Okanagan were slated to face each other in the quarterfinals, everyone knew that it would not disappoint. Palmer struck early and often as Gurjit Pooni looked like a man possessed hitting baskets from everywhere on the court but the crowd had their eyes on Dhaliwal and Jhuty who were just a day apart from having played their best game yet of their high school careers.
But for the Hornets it Malcom Heinrichs leading the charge. Heinrichs had 41 points as he lead the charge to tie things up at 67 going into the final quarter where Antonio Jhuty showed he wasn’t just a one hit wonder by putting up 38 points in the 86-81 Palmer win as they were set to face the dominate Lambrick Park Lions (3) in the semi-finals.
Lambrick Park was dominant in their journey to the semis as they stepped over Pacific Academy(14), outscoring them by 58 points while spreading the wealth among their roster which has so many weapons in its arsenal. Six different players had 10 or more points and Calvin Somers sunk 6 from the 3 point line while his twin brother Austin hit 4 and both are only in 9th grade.
In the quarterfinals the Lions faced St. Thomas Aquinas(11) where Ishmail Adbulahi ran wild on STA scoring 30 points which was just a precursor to what was about to come from Adbulahi and 6’10 Matt Neufeld had 26 himself while winning the player of the game honors.
With that we had one of two semi-finals set and Lambrick Park had the momentum even with the initial rankings coming into the tournament that had R.C. Palmer ranked very high, they were brought down to earth early on as it was all Lions from start to finish. Adding salt to the wound was Gurjit Pooni going down in the 2nd quarter with what looked to be a lower right leg injury that forced him to be helped off the floor and taken out of the building on a stretcher by paramedics. He was in good spirits as the Lions stood up to shake his hand as he was being taken out of the arena in a showing of great sportsmanship and respect to a fellow athlete and competitor. The Lions would take this game 106-58 once again cracking the 100-point barrier and the only team to do so.
While Antonio Jhuty once again led his team in scoring, he was shut down by the great defensive game being put on by Lambrick Park who on the other side of the court was putting on a clinic from every angle. The threes were being tossed and dropped by the Somers brothers once again as Austin went 50% from the arch while Calvin went 6 for 13 to go along with his 22 points through 32 minutes of floor time. He wasn’t even the player of the game. That award went to Ishmail Adbulahi who once again went over 30 points and went nearly perfect on his 13 free throw attempts.
With a bench so deep it didn’t come as much of a surprise that Lambrick was a dominant as they were heading into the final because it allowed their starts to reserve energy and not make mistakes while the players coming off the bench have the talent to technically be starters.
The Lions would have to wait long as the next semi-final was right after their game between the Valleyview Vikes (4) and the top dogs in the St. Michaels University School Blue Jags (1), former home to NBA great Steve Nash. Valleyview was in a battle the entire tournament just to get to the semis as they fought tooth and nail to get past Golden (13) and Elphinstone (5) in the quarters to match up against Valleyview.
The Vikes, just like the Lions, seem to cruise through their competition in Mt. Elizabeth (16) and Clarence Fulton (8) to have one game between them and an all island final. Layton Demidoff did his best to carry the Vikes with his 17 points but it was no match Graeme Hyde-Lay’s 4 three-pointers and 22 points as he led St. Michaels to a date with the Lambrick Park Lions.
In game 32 after 3 days of competition and outlasting 14 other teams we had our final set. They had faced each other 6 times prior the provincials with the Blue Jags having a 4-2 advantage but that didn’t mean anything to the Somers and company coming into this one. It would be Lambricks time when the final buzzer sounded as the scoring would be spread out once again but the focus would go to Neufeld who recorded 20 while the Somers celebrated with their coach (who is their dad) on the biggest win of their young basketball lives.
Antonio Jhuty – R.C. Palmer
Layton Demidoff – Valleyview
Ishmael Abdulahi – Lambrick Park
Jason Scully – St. Michael’s University School
Calvin Somers – Lambrick Park
Nick Tancon – Highland
T.J. Turenne – Elphinstone
Malcom Heinrichs – Southern Okanagam
Jaiten Rana – Delview
Graeme Hyde-Lay – St. Michael’s University School
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Matt Neufeld – Lambrick Park
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Matt Neufeld – Lambrick Park
BY NICHOLAS BASRAN