The action is over on semifinal Friday at the Chancellor Invitational. It will be No. 1 Byrne Creek vs. No. 6 Argyle in Saturday’s championship final. A look:
BYRNE CREEK 75 NORTH DELTA 55
BURNABY — The Byrne Creek Bulldogs started Friday’s Chancellor Invitational semifinal like they had forgotten what had gotten them to No. 1 in the B.C. AAA rankings.
Trailing 10-0 to the No. 5 North Delta Huskies, then 12-4, then later giving up a 12-0 run to fall behind 26-15. Hmm. It didn’t look like their night.
Yet just to show how no lead is ever safe against the Edmonds squad, Byrne eventually caught fire, and led by its do-it-all guard-forward Martin Djunga, topped the Huskies 75-55 to gain a spot in Saturday’s title tilt against North Vancouver’s No. 6-ranked Argyle Pipers.
“They are a very good team, well-coached, talented and lanky and we didn’t expect anything less from them,” said Byrne Creek head coach Bal Dhillon said of North Delta. “I didn’t expect them to start slow. We weathered a storm and that game was a lot closer than the final score.”
Even though Djunga whiffed on a baseline dunk with 1:53 remaining, his missed very little else, knocking down a pair of key fourth-quarter treys to finish with a game-high 34 points.
“In the second half we played very well and Martin hit some big shots, but collectively we played very well as well,” said Bulldogs’ guard Sufi Ahmed who finished with 15 points. “We started slow, but we just kept pushing the ball, then we started to hit some shots and Martin hit some real big ones for us.”
Forward Bithow Wan added 14 points.
The Grade 11-heavy Huskies got 17 points from guard Arun Atker, and 14 more from from Vikram Hayer. And when star Suraj Gahir scored 12 second-half points after being held without a point over the first half, it appeared momentum might begin to swing back in their direction.
ARGYLE 75 SIR CHARLES TUPPER 59
BURNABY — North Vancouver’s No. 6-ranked Pipers pressed full court like their lives depended on it, and in the end, overwhelmed the No. 3 Tupper Tigers 75-59 in the first of two semifinals at STM’s Chancellor Invitational on Friday night.
“We’re the kind of team that loves to press because it gets us going, gets us into the games,” said Pipers’ head coach Bruce Wallace. “We don’t do so well when we sit back in a zone and let teams come to us.”
Senior laden and ready to make a run, the Pipers, filled with multi-sport athletes and borrowing heavily from their football roster, played as physical a brand of basketball as you’re apt to see in the AAA ranks.
Football star receiver/returner Devin O’Hea was sensational in pouring home a team-high 22 points, while Alex Wallace added 17 and David Finch 13.
Gaurab Acharya led the Tigers with 23 points, while Simon Crossfield added 15 and Ranell Sebastian 10.
Said coach Wallace of his team making Saturday’s championship final: “It was our goal. We thought we could do it. I had watched a lot of the other top teams and I thought we were competitive with them.”
The Pipers will face the winner of Friday’s late semifinal between North Delta and Byrne Creek in the Saturday’s tourney finale.
VERNON 78 STEVESTON-LONDON 61
BURNABY — The Vernon Panthers got 26 points from Colton Schaper-Kotter as part of a balanced offensive attack to hold off the Steveston-London Sharks.
The victory propels the Panthers into the Chancellor’s fifth-place on Saturday against Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats.
Leon Shanker with 17, Thomas Hyett 14 and Jaden Parson 11 points also hit double figures for the winners.
Steveston-London was led by the 18 points of Quinn Whyte and 11 more from Johnny Fang.
R.A. MCMATH 69 ST. THOMAS MORE 56
BURNABY — Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats will play for fifth place on Saturday after topping the host St. Thomas More Knights 69-56.
STM had clawed back to within 50-46 late in the third quarter but six different Wildcats hit the score sheet in the final frame, including Canadian select forward Victor Radocaj, who scored six points of his team-high 18 points.
Ioan Popov added 15 points, Rohan Balaggan 11 and Jordin Kojima 10.
Cedric Alvarez scored a game-high 28 points in the loss to the Knights.
In earlier games Friday, Centennial defeated Brookswood 75-57 and Rick Hansen defeated Fleetwood Park 72-52.
Tonight’s semifinals feature Sir Charles Tupper facing Argyle at 7 p.m. and North Delta meeting Byrne Creek at 8:45 a.m.
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