RICHMOND — Kiante Knight wasn’t able to cap his high school basketball career with a berth in the provincial championships, yet the Killarney Cougars standout still managed to put an exclamation point on things.
Meanwhile, one month after sharing the greatest thrill of his life with his teammates, Aman Dhillon of Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen Hurricanes took a moment for himself and did what he’s always done best.
That was the scene Saturday at Richmond’s R.C. Palmer Secondary as a pair of time-honoured individual competitions, each put on moth balls for a number of seasons, experienced a re-birth as part of the B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association’s All-Star Saturday.
Knight, the Cougars’ stout 6-foot standout, thrilled the crowd with the second of his three offerings and wound up winning the B.C. Slam-Dunk Contest, an event last contested in 2009.
Knight, ever resourceful, recruited friend and former provincial team teammate Mason Bourcier of the Kelowna Owls to help him with a tandem dunk.
Bourcier led Knight to the glass and put the ball in the precise position to allow him the chance to go airborne and finish with an impressive flush.
“Mason is a phenomenal passer and so I just took advantage of the fact that he was going to be here,” said Knight of Bourcier, a friend since their Grade 8 days on the provincial team and in town from the Okanagan to represent in the Quad-A vs. Triple-A all-star game which concluded the evening’s entertainment. “It really was a last-minute thing.”
The dunk scored three 9’s and one 10 from the four judges, and on the day, Knight totalled 110 of 120 possible points.
Pointed out that he dunks with a vengeance and has been noted as The Angry Dunker, the Capilano University-bound Knight replied: “I like that. I think I’ll take that nickname with me next year to Cap.”
Michael Chany of the Gladstone Gladiators, and Nathan Bromige of the Lord Byng Grey Ghosts, also took part in the competition.
Dhillon, freshly minted as a provincial Triple-A champ with the Hurricanes, added an individual provincial title to his cache, winning the first B.C. three-point shooting contest staged since 2013.
Both Dhillon and Michael Kelly of North Vancouver’s St. Thomas Aquinas were pushed to the brink by their competition, each going to overtime in the semifinals. In the finals, regulation was all that was needed for Dhillon to emerge a 13-11 winner.
Each round saw the players shoot 25 shots from five different locations around the perimetre, with no money-ball points awarded.
“By the fifth rack, you start to get tired,” admitted Dhillon, who beat King George’s Yoel Teclehaimanot 13-11 in the first round, then survived Carter Martens of Kelowna Christian 3-2 in a second OT session which saw both shooters get 12 seconds to shoot five shots from one spot on the floor. The pair were knotted 14-14 after regulation and tied 2-2 after a five-shot, 15-second opening round of overtime.
The fatigue was later replaced by joy.
“When coach told me about this contest, it’s all I have been thinking about,” said Dhillon, whose team was honoured with a banner raising mid-week at a school assembly. “I’ve been coming into the gym in the mornings and staying after school. To cap off a season with this? This is the cherry on the top.”
Kelly was the workhorse of the afternoon.
After topping Kyle Alviento of Sir Charles Tupper 14-8 in round one, he needed triple overtime to shake Kyle Guerrero of King George.
The two were tied 15-15 after regulation, 1-1 after the first OT and 3-3 after the second. Given three shots apiece and nine seconds for the third OT, Kelly won 3-1.
Steven Ang of R.C. Palmer and Walnut Grove’s Ty Rowell also took part in the contest. Ang lost in the first round to Guerrero while Rowell fell to Martens in the opening round.
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