LANGLEY — What’s a sure-fire way to get Burnaby South junior boys basketball coach Rupi Dahia to shrug his shoulder?
Simple: Ask him who the stars of his team are.
“That’s the key thing about this team… we don’t really have that ‘best’ player,” Dahia confessed Sunday after his No. 3-seeded Rebels made every key shot they had to down the stretch drive to hold off the West Vancouver Highlanders 60-56 and earn a berth in Monday’s Four against its geographic rivals, the St. Patrick’s Celtics.
“We have guys who have been playing together for such a long time, and they care about each other. All they do is move the ball.”
So on Sunday it was another case of ‘Pick your star’ for Burnaby South.
The Gutierrez Brothers — Grade 10 Lordrikk and Grade 9 Llorikk — scored 12 and 16 points respectively to lead the winners, each in their own lead-by-the-heart way.
Roan Mendoza’s big lay-up with 1:40 remaining was huge.
But was anything bigger than guard Izaac Gonzalez’s clutch baseline corner triple with 1:04 remaining that put the Rebels’ ahead 59-52? Gonzalez, one of the best shooters in the province, finished the game with a trio of triples and nine points.
Burnaby South needed everything it could muster to top the Highlanders, who were led by the 15 points of Marko Slavkovic and the 14 of Calvin Kuzyk.
Now, Dahia knows Monday’s semifinal will come with a pair of loud and faithful fan bases on hand to provide atmosphere.
“It’s a Big Dance against St. Pat’s and the crowd is going to be fired up,” Dahia said. “The kids know each other from club, but the two teams have not played against each other. They’ve been looking forward to it all year.”
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