Dover Bay's Joe Linder take a jump shot against Lord Byng's Marco Radic during Day 3 Final Four semifinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 8, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Ryan Molag property Langley Events Centre-TFSE 2024. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

03.08.24 Day 3 reports from the 2024 B.C. senior boys Triple-A Friday Final Four semifinal basketball championships!

Hello B.C. boys high school basketball fans.

Final Four Friday has arrived.

Myself and our Varsity Letters’ team of writers will be bringing you full coverage of all eight semifinals form the 1, 2, 3 and 4A tiers tonight.

Remember that whatever tier you’re reading about here, all you need to do is go there main page at to find portals to the other three off of our main page.

And please share us over all your social media platforms!

Enjoy the games and keep coming back for updates through the night.


No. 2 DOVER BAY 68 No. 3 LORD BYNG 56


LANGLEY — Darren Seaman hadn’t even looked at the final box score, but the head coach of Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Dolphins didn’t need to to know that his star Grade 11 forward Frank Linder had turned in a performance worthy of one of the biggest wins in program history.

“He’s the heart and soul, he’s the motor, he is everything… our poise, our stature,” said Seaman. “Everything.”

With the best players, in pretty much every case, you don’t need numbers.

That’s because it’s in the way they seem to all so instantly pass an eye-test which informs us just how impactful they are, and in the case of Dover Bay’s 6-foot-7 bird man, it was evident in the way he threaded the needle with his passes, and the all the times he’d clean up on the defensive glass,often times electing to take it the distance with his brand of 90-foot lay-ins.

Just in case you’re interested, however, how’s about a 20-rebound, 17-point, 13-point triple-double in the semi-finals of the B.C. senior boys Triple-A basketball championships… in a 68-56 win over Vancouver’s Lord Byng Grey Ghosts… in a game that moves your school in Saturday’s championship final for the second straight season.

With Linder, and senior guard Tarman Sandhu’s game-high 20 points, the Dolphins found ways to finally wear down the Grey Ghosts

Locked at 48-48 after the third quarter, the Dolphins opened the final frame on an 11-4 run for a 59-52 lead, capped by an Oyama Crouch lay-in with 4:56 left, and from that point on, Lord Byng managed just two buckets from the field the rest of the night.

“I was just telling my assistant coach that I don’t know if we could have done much different,” said Byng head coach Kevin Sandher whose senior-laden team battled to the bitter end. “Tied at 48 and all of their best players hit shots and we couldn’t get anything to fall in that fourth quarter. So credit to them. They are a hell of team, a hell of program… they never take a night off.  But honestly, I have no regrets. Everything we had, we gave.”

Frank Linder is just one of those special players.

The fact that 19 of his 20 rebounds were defensive basically adds up to 19 opportunities for perhaps the best-equipped coast-to-coast player in the province to have the ball in his hands and take it the distance.

In the half court, witness the touch and tight-window marksmanship he displayed in finding teammates like Hudson Trood and Crouch for lay-ins along the baseline.

And as the lynch-pin of an enviable switching zone defence enormous overall wingspan and a built-in intensity to make it thorny, he made things impenetrable at times for a talented and experienced Grey Ghosts squad.

Dover Bay’s Grade 9 point guard Joe Lindner was the picture of poise against Lord Byng during Day 3 Final Four semifinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 8, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Mark Steffens property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

Ask the elder Linder about the assists, and he lights up.

“Just being unselfish, trust my teammates, and they trust me and that is how we go,” he said explaining how the game’s most unselfish stat actually speaks to their connection and their character.

Tarman Sandhu has been a second-half revelation for the Dolphins.

He was not starting when the team took part this past December at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational, yet he has been a go-scorer here at the B.C.’s.

On Friday, his 20 points included a fire-starting 13 first-half points, a total which included three of his four triples on the night. As well, the 6-foot-6 forward Trood proved sure-handed in agile, especially in tight spots, scoring nine of his 11 in the fourth quarter.

And the team’s Grade 9 point guard Joe Linder, Frank’s little brother, was a picture of poise at the game’s most cerebral of positions.

Dylan King, the versatile guard, led all scorers with 21 points for Lord Byng. Forward Marco Radic and point guard Eli Mullin had 11 and 10 points apiece for a Ghosts team who played seven seniors in its main rotation.

The loss marked Lord Byng’s second straight in the Final Four, while Dover Bay will play in its second straight final on Saturday, coming off a 91-80 loss to St. Patrick’s last season.

MEI’s Spencer Tatlock rises for a dunk against the St. Patrick’s Celtics during Day 3 Final Four semifinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 8, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

No. 5 MEI 79 vs No. 1 ST. PATRICK 75 

By Dan Kinvig (Special for Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — In terms of recent pedigree at the B.C. high school boys basketball championships, the difference between the two combatants in Friday’s late 3A semifinal couldn’t have been more stark.

In one corner, you had the top-seeded St. Patrick Celtics, the two-time reigning 3A champions looking to extend their dynasty to a three-peat. To put into into perspective, the last time the Celtics did not play in the Arena Bowl at the Langley Events Centre on Championship Saturday was the pre-COVID pandemic era.

In the other corner? The Mennonite Educational Institute Eagles of Abbotsford.

Now, the Eagles have a long, proud tradition of boys basketball, highlighted by top-tier championships in 1963 and 1970, and a total of 31 provincials berths between the old 3A tier (when it was the largest school-size designation) and the current 3A tier (now the second-largest).

But the last time the Eagles had advance to a Final Four was 2004 – before any of the current players were born. And the last time they advanced to a final? 1995. 

On Friday, though, the No. 5-seeded Eagles broke through, stunning the Celtics 79-75 to punch their ticket to the title game. And in the aftermath, they savoured the historic nature of it all.

“One of my uncles played on that 1995 team, Uncle Dave,” senior guard Ben Brandsma marveled.

“It feels amazing,” he continued. “I just can’t believe it. To go from yesterday’s game (a 67-66 overtime win over North Delta), to now going to the final? I’m blown away.

“I’m super proud of our team, and so thankful.”

Friday’s tilt was a clash of styles. Both teams tried to slow the other with 2-3 zone defences, but offensively, their goals couldn’t have been more different. The Eagles, with star centre Spencer Tatlock in the middle, tried to methodically work the ball towards the rim. The Celtics, meanwhile, didn’t have a single player who stood within five inches of Tatlock’s 6’9” stature – they wanted to push the pace and shoot threes.

Both teams, early on, successfully stymied the other’s strengths. St. Pat’s rarely got out in transition, and while they were able to generate good looks from three in their halfcourt offence, they rarely fell. The Celtics shot a chilly 5-for-19 from beyond the arc in the first half.

The Eagles, meanwhile, struggled to get the the ball to Tatlock against the St. Patrick zone, or into the paint in general. And for the most part, their three-point attempts were well off the mark. 

MEI Eagles coach Mike Lee directs his surging squad against the two-time defending B.C. champion St. Patrick’s Celtics during Day 3 Final Four semifinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 8, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

The old basketball cliche, when a team is struggling to shoot the ball with any accuracy, is to say that they’re tossing up enough bricks to build a house. To expand on that metaphor, the Celtics and Eagles, between them, could have combined to construct a tastefully appointed subdivision in the first half. 

MEI got a lift from Shaun Madahar late in the second quarter – the Grade 11 sniper came off the bench to knock down a pair of triples, and the Eagles led 35-31 at the break.

Tatlock had been limited to seven points in the first half, but the Eagles were able to unlock the Celtics’ defence in the third quarter and get their big man involved. That allowed them to gain some separation, and they stretched the lead to 52-39 at the midway point of the third after point guard Isaiah Lee drained a runner.

Ryan Garcia, St. Patrick’s outstanding senior point guard, put his team on his back at that point. He went on a personal 8-0 run, highlighted by a pair of triples, and would score 11 third-quarter points to help his team get back to within five points.

The Celtics continued to grind, opening the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run capped by a Jovin Sunner jumper to level the score 57-57.

Brandsma, though, responded with a baseline leaner, and on the next MEI possession, he dumped the ball off to Tatlock for an emphatic two-handed slam to make it 61-57. 

Key buckets down the stretch from Mercer Thiessen and Tatlock allowed the Eagles to extend their lead as high as 11, and they weathered one last Celtic surge to seal the win and set off a celebration on the court and in the stands.

“Our head of schools, Vijay Manuel, is an MEI alum,” Eagles head coach Mike Lee said afterward. “He remembered his high school days going to the gym, and MEI used to be packed. Even for league games, it was standing room only. We tell the kids that, and they’re like, ‘Whaaaaaaat?’ 

“Vijay envisioned getting basketball back to the culture that it was in those days, and what did that look like? We had a lot of conversations. 

“There’s a lot of MEI families that are third generation . . . and that culture in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, we were a basketball school. So getting to where we’re at, it means a lot.”

Tatlock and Isaiah Lee tied for team-high honours with 20 points apiece for the Eagles, and Nathan Laspa chipped in with 10 points.

Garcia paced the Celtics with a game-high 20 points, and Sunner (16) and Jerome Alojado (15) also scored in double figures.

“The difference was Spencer,” said St. Patrick head coach Nap Santos. “We don’t have a big kid like that.

“We did a good job on him in the first half, but sometimes we forget they’re teenage boys – we’re fronting (Tatlock), but they forget to front. Those small little things we have to remember when the game is going on.”

MEI’s Ben Brandsma and St. Patrick’s Markell King-Collins do battle in the paint during Day 3 Final Four semifinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 8, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

Reflecting on his team’s three-peat bid coming up short, Santos noted it’s “been a crazy run” over the last three seasons.

“The kids worked hard, and they really wanted it bad,” he said. “They put in the effort to get to the final game and have a chance to defend. There was nothing that they didn’t do. We just ran into a team that played just a little bit better than us. 

“It’s unfortunate (to lose), but I’m proud of all the guys – I couldn’t be more proud of them. They did everything they were supposed to do.”

The Eagles advance to face the No. 2 Dover Bay Dolphins of Nanaimo in the final (5:15 p.m., LEC Arena Bowl).

“We’ve played them already this year, and we got our butts kicked,” Lee acknowledged with a smile. “We’re going to lick our wounds, watch some tape, and get ready to compete. 

“Dover Bay has got some studs, and they have a bitter taste in their mouths after losing (in the final) last year. We know that, we’re going to be aware of that, and we’re going to take that underdog role and give them our best shot. Like we did tonight.”

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