LANGLEY — One of the most dominant forces in the recent history of B.C. Single A basketball championships put on a show Saturday on the big floor at the Langley Events Centre.
In the end, however, tournament MVP Saymon Noki’s 31 points and 21 rebounds wasn’t enough to carry Smithers’ Bulkley Valley Christian Royals past the most complete team at the tourney, Kelowna’s Heritage Christian Saints.
“Our game plan was just to double team him every time he touched the ball in the post,” said Heritage Christian head coach Colton Tripke, whose team topped the Royals 65-53 to win the Saints’ first title in school history. “He scored 44 last night (in a semifinal win over Similkameen), so we knew he was going to score. So the plan was just to limit him as much as possible.”
Of course the Saints kept up their end of the bargain on the other end of the floor equally well.
Blessed with weapons of all description, Heritage Christian took early command of the game from the outside as 6-foot-2 senior guard Sam Bell caught fire from the outside, knocking down five treys over the first two quarters en route to finishing with a team-high 22 points.
“Our inside game was good but we really needed to get our outside game going today,” said Tripke of the fact that Loki was a presence in the interior of the Bulkley Valley defence.
Raymond Barrett, a quick and nimble guard with length finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while shooter Ben Robideau and forward Isaac Opuama each scored 12 points.
“Our guys played so well, and they have been working for this for the past two years,” said Tripke. “This is a blessing. This is the greatest thing ever. Our guys worked their butts off.”
Bulkley Valley head coach Chris Steenhof admitted that the Royals’ had a good game plan for Loki.
“They played Symon different than anyone has this year,” he said. “They are a very athletic team and they adjusted very quickly. Their athleticism hurt us because they made very quick decisions and we didn’t counter.”
Senior point guard Nathan Steenhof scored 16 points in the loss.
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