LANGLEY — A senior who picked the perfect time to have the shooting performance of his life.
A basketball lifer who found a new team to coach and wound up taking them right to the top.
And, against all odds, the first Grade 8 to ever be named the MVP of a B.C. senior varsity basketball championship tournament.
Port Coquitlam’s B.C. Christian Panthers ticked all of those boxes on Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, winning the school’s first-ever title, 68-63 over the Kelowna Christian Knights, with a most electic collection of basketball parts.
“This was a dream come true today,” said Zack Kuzyk, who scored a game-high 32 points, shooting 7-of-14 from three-point range in the process. “We have three other seniors on this team, too, and all we wanted to do was leave it on the court. It’s the best way possible to go out.”
Gib Hinz, the former head coach at both Kelowna Christian and Heritage Christian, was thrilled for his kids, and admitted it’s always special to win a title, even if it’s the fifth of your career in B.C.
“It’s amazing,” he began. “You just try to work with these kids and try to get them to this place where it’s the last game that you can get to, and then just see if we can leave it all out on the floor.
“I am so pumped for every one of them and all of them are special.”
And then there was The Kid.
Grade 8 Harry Oghomienor, the 6-foot-3 guard from Nigeria, who behind a solid tournament including an 18-point, six-rebound performance, was named the tournament MVP.
Dripping with grace and awareness, Oghomienor simply flowed with the ball, his big stride, amazing body control and courage getting him to the rim with regularity.
“It feels so good because this is my first year at the school,” he said. “I was pretty nervous because yesterday, in the semifinals, I twisted my ankles. I just prayed to God to help me and I was able to play.”
The Panthers’ Quentin Onyemordi, the 6-foot Grade 11 with the physique of a middle linebacker, was named Top Defensive Player.
“We sure didn’t stop their No. 9,” said Knights’ head coach Tim Martens of Kuzyk. “He lit us up. We had some goals to stop No. 15 (Cody Dowell) and No. 13 (Onyemordi) and we seemed to accomplish that, but No. 9 surprised us a bit. And you know what? They just out-played us.”
Jackson Borne led the Knights with 18 points, Carter Martens added 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Cruz Anderson scored 11 points.
Jackson Katler, a 6-foot-2 senior forward playing his first year, continued to astound, scoring nine points and grabbing 12 rebounds as the team’s energy player.
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