Maple Ridge Christian's Carson Barber helped lead his team to a Final Four berth during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Langley Events Centre 2024. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

03.07.24 Day 2 reports from the 2024 B.C. senior boys Single-A Elite 8 quarterfinal basketball championships!

Howard Tsumura here, founder and writer of Varsity Letters.

Welcome to the quarterfinal round of the 2024 B.C. Single-A boys basketball championships.

We’ve got complete coverage tonight of all four championship games in each of the four tiers of competition.

Keep checking back here throughout the evening for updates at this tier, but remember you can go to and scan our daily front page for complete reports from the other three as well.

Our four-person team tonight consists of myself at Quad-A, Dan King at Triple-A, Aaron Martin at Double-A and Nicolas Hauka at Single-A.



All Stories by NICOLAS HAUKA (Special for Varsity Letters)



LANGLEY — Sometimes, size isn’t everything.

Speed, heart, and desire can not only win you basketball games but also lead you to your first final-four berth in program history.

Head coach Brad Shearing’s No.2 Maple Ridge Christian Hornets know this all too well

“We know we’re a small team, so we just got to push the ball,” said Shearing on Thursday. “We aren’t successful when we play slow. If we go fast, teams usually struggle to keep up.” 

In a decisive 87- 68 victory over the No.7 Similkameen Sparks in the B.C. Provincial Single-A championship quarterfinals, the Hornets displayed their pace and defensive intensity all game. The Sparks had a very difficult time keeping up with the Hornets. With their starting five on the floor until the game’s last three minutes, Sparks players could be seen gasping for air all afternoon. 

A lack of oxygen didn’t stop the small town from the interior from fighting until the final buzzer. Led by guard duo Darion Eustache-Peone and Ethan Potdash, the Sparks played right with the Hornets for the whole first quarter. Slowing down the pace and hitting timely three-pointers, the score was 17-15 Hornets going into the second. 

With the score within two, Coach Shearing had a plan. The Hornets came out and trapped the Sparks. Momentarily overwhelmed, the Sparks threw pass after pass right into the arms of Hornets defenders. Extending their lead to 13 midway through the second quarter, it seemed as if the Hornets were about to pull away. Out of a timeout, The Sparks adjusted big time. Staying poised against the press, the Sparks brought the ball upcourt slowly and got to work in the post. 

Working in the post was Rain Mardsen. Despite his name, Mardsen doesn’t make it rain from behind the arc. Instead, he posts up down low and uses his power to get buckets under the hoop. When Mardsen was doubled, he calmly found either Potdash or Peone for an open three. Led By Mardsen’s eight points and playmaking ability, the lead was cut to 42-36 at halftime. 

Makhar Golotin of the Maple Ridge Christian Hornets during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Langley Events Centre 2024. All Rights Reserved)

The Hornets never panicked. They once again upped the pace and made life miserable for the Sparks. Led by Player of the Game Makar Golotin, the floodgates opened. No player better resembles the Hornets’ team mentality than Golotin. Playing a simple yet effective game, Golotin’s hustle is his defining trait. Diving for loose balls and finishing fast break buckets, He was everywhere in the Hornet’s 11-2 third-quarter run. Coach Shearing and the Hornet’s staff greatly appreciate Golotin’s effort. “That’s my favorite player, and pretty much every other coach that I see that’s their favorite player too,” said Shearing when asked about Golotin, who finished with fourteen points. 

The Sparks continued to battle well until the fourth, but Hornet’s star Carson Barber put a dagger into the heart of the Sparks. Scoring seven of his game-high twenty-two points, Barber scored three straight buckets for his team, extending the lead to 80-66 with just three minutes to go. There was no coming back from that for the Sparks; the game was all but over, finishing in an 87-66 win for the Hornets.

After their quarter-final victory, Maple Ridge Christian will head to their first final-four and look to continue making history with a finals berth.

Levi Burton of the Gidgalang Kuuyas Navy Breakers keeps a step ahead of the St. John’s during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Langley Events Centre 2024. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — The No. 6-seeded Gidgalang Kuuyas Naay Breakers have arrived at the B.C. 1 A provincial championships, hosted at the Langley Events Centre ready to play, showcasing a different style under Head Coach Desi Collinson.

”We play village basketball. We’re from Haida Gwaii. We played Haida-style right at the end of the day,” Collinson said after the Breaker’s 79-72 victory over the No.3 St John’s School Eagles, which propels them to the Final Four for the first time. 

“Village Basketball” is an absolute joy to watch. The Breakers’ passion, physicality, and determination are unmatched. They give everything they have in every aspect of the game, and you can tell the game of basketball means so much to this team.

This style of play may not be anything Eagles Head Coach Jonathan Kinman and his team have seen all year, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t aware of what was coming. “Their physicality, we knew, was going to be an issue because we’re small and young.” Despite being undersized, led by Viv Anderson-Francois’s thirty-one points, the Eagles fought admirably all night. They gave it everything they had for four quarters, never shying away from contact.

Greg Puterill of the Gidgalang Kuuyas Navy Breakers during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Langley Events Centre 2024. All Rights Reserved)

There was never a dull moment in a thrilling game, where momentum changed seemingly every minute. After having a dead-even first quarter in which each team ended the frame with eighteen, the second quarter began with an 11-3 Eagles run. The Breakers roared back led by guard Greg Puterill and Loay Almahmiid’s six points apiece. Puterill, just an inch under six feet, may not be the tallest player on the court, but it’s clear he’s the strongest. Outmuscling opponents for rebounds and getting tough buckets at the rim, Puterill is a nightmare to play against. With Puterill finding his game in the last half of the quarter, the Breakers took a 39-37 lead into halftime.

The third quarter belonged to Francois. Francois started playing like a young man on a mission, with the Eagles trailing narrowly to start the second half. He drove fearlessly to the bucket and used his silky mid-range shot to a quarter-high twelve points. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that was the team’s only 12 points of the frame. Led by a balanced offensive approach, the Breakers took a 40-35 lead in the final quarter.

For the most part, the Breakers don’t play pretty basketball. The exception to this rule is guard and player of the game Levi Burton. Burton dazzles with his incredible handles, leaving his opponents behind and, on multiple occasions, flat on the floor. In an exceptional 9-point fourth quarter, Burton had his team in full command in the final minutes. With the Breakers up 9 with two minutes to go, the Eagles desperately needed a bucket. Queue the Anderson—Francois show.

Francois grabbed the ball, raced down the court, and drilled a three with a defender in his face. The Eagles, then forced to intentionally foul, sent Burton to the line. Burton went one of two from the line, and the Eagles had the ball again. Trying to give everyone Deja Vu, Francois sprinted down the court and hit another three from the same spot. With the score now 77-72 with a minute left, the Eagles had a chance. On an opportunity to bring it within one score, the ball spun out of the rim into Breaker’s hands. A couple of free throws later, and the game was over. 

The Gidgalang Kuuyas Navy Breakers celebrate an upset win over St. John’s during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Langley Events Centre 2024. All Rights Reserved)

The Breakers were ecstatic after a thrilling win, but coach Collinson knows the journey isn’t done yet. “You know, I’m going to be a little more satisfied when we get to the finals, and we can win this tournament, right?” said Collinson after being asked how much this win meant for the small community’s team. 

Now that their season is over, Eagles coach Kinman is looking forward to his young team’s future: “We’re really excited, and you know we wanted to go deeper to get that experience, but I, you know this will be fuel for next year.”

Now in their first final-four appearance ever, the Breakers will be playing for more than just each other as they move on in this tournament. “These guys know the colors that they’re representing, and that’s the beautiful thing because we practice culture. We live, and we breathe culture, and we know what we’re representing here at the end of the day,” remarked Coach Collinson when speaking about playing for the team’s tight-knit community. 



LANGLEY — Adversity is something we all encounter in life.

It’s always challenging to deal with in the moment, but going through it makes us all stronger individuals.

There was plenty of adversity in the single-A Senior Boys Quarterfinal matchup of Kamloops’s No. 4 St Ann’s Academy Crusaders vs No. 5 King David Lions.

Despite a 77-67 victory, the Crusaders, led by head coach Jason Eichenberger, went through plenty of it. Eichenberger tells us his team has been overcoming adversity all season: “There’s going to be adversity, and it comes in different forms. It could be foul trouble, right? It could be shots not falling, whatever it is, we try our best to help the players through it.”

Speaking of foul trouble, that’s exactly what the Crusaders got in early.

“We got into early foul trouble, and we had to take two starters off the floor, so we were just trying to stay in the game at that point” said Eichenberger when speaking on his team’s first quarter. The Crusaders managed to do precisely that. Weathering the storm led by Nash Pearce’s nine points, the Crusaders handled their first adverse situation of the night, taking a 23-14 lead after the first quarter. 

Ryder Corsi of St, Ann’s Academy is pursued by Titan Arazi of the King David Lions during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Langley Events Centre 2024. All Rights Reserved)

The second quarter was a back-and-forth affair. Teams traded buckets early and often. The Lions, led by Paul Zychlinski’s scoring and ball distribution, cut the lead to five going into the half, 37-32 Crusaders. The Crusaders and guard Jacob Eichenberger exploded in the third. Behind his eight points, the Crusaders took complete control of the game and went up 55-42 in the fourth quarter.  

In the fourth, adversity struck the Crusaders once again. Up big, the Crusaders nearly collapsed. Sparked by a plethora of forced turnovers, the Lions came roaring back. Zychlinski drilled three separate shots from behind the arc, and before you knew it, the Lions were within six points with three minutes to go.

With his team in disbelief, Eichenberg called timeout.

“I was just trying to get them to stay calm, right? They hit that three late to bring it within six, and we didn’t do a very good job of taking care of the ball there for about four possessions in a row, and luckily, it didn’t cost us the game,” said Eichenberg on the sequence.

When so many teams collapse under the pressure of a moment like this, but the Crusaders battled, refusing to give in. Nash Pearce, who finished with a team-high 25 points, got to the line and hit critical free throws down the stretch. The Crusaders bled the clock and held on for the win; disaster adverted.

Heading into the final four, the No.4 St Ann’s Academy Crusaders will look to take their lessons learned on adversity one game further into the 1-A championship game.

Ryan Fukomoto and the Unity Christian Flames are headed back to the Final Four after defeating the Golden Eagles on Thursday at the LEC. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Langley Events Centre 2024. All Rights Reserved)



The No. 1 Unity Christian Flames have been a dominant force all year.

At the B.C. senior boys Single-A provincial championships in Langley, it’s been no different.

Taking on the No. 8 Golden Eagles, it was clear who the better team was all night.

In a 94-42 rout, Flames head coach David Bron wanted his team to stick to its structure and keep focus in the lopsided affair: “We’re not focused on the fans. We’re not focused on the pressure of being ranked number one. We went through all the things we were not focused on, and then we went through the stuff we were focused on. We just stayed the course with that,

and I think we did a pretty good job all the way through tonight.

Now that they have clinched a berth into the semifinals, that focus Bron talks about will

be key moving forward. The Flames will take on a formidable No.4 St. Ann’s Academy

Crusaders team, fresh off a nail-biting 77-67 victory in their quarterfinal matchup against

the No.5 King David Lions.

The Crusaders are ready to give the Flames all they have, something that coach Bron

does not lose sight of. He knows his team will have to get back to basics tomorrow to win.

“I think if we win the rebounding battle, we have a really good chance. We got to

focus on the little things: the pump fakes, the ball fakes, and things of that nature.”

Critical to the Flames’s success on the boards will be six-foot-seven center Ryder

Vanderkooi, who was named Payer of the Game in their quarterfinals win, and who also happens to have some pretty has serious hops. He’s also got the ability to throw it down on the fast break with authority/

Vanderkooi will look to give the Flames an advantage in the post tomorrow.

Do the Crusaders have what it takes to take down the number-one-ranked team? Or will

the Flame’s dominance continue?

Only time will tell, but it’s a game which could prove to be a classic.


FINAL FOUR (at Centre Court)

GAME TIMES — 3:30, 5:15 p.m.

SATURDAY (at Arena Bowl)


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