St. Pat's players had plenty of second-half moments to celebrate as they rallied past Fleetwood Park on Sunday to earn a berth in the B.C. junior Final Four. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2022. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

B.C. Jr. Boys Elite 8: St. Pat’s Jovin Sunner shines bright as defending champ Celtics rally past Fleetwood Park Dragons for Final Four berth!

LANGLEY — The St. Patrick’s Celtics are playing their best basketball of the season at precisely the right time.

Ask head coach John Boateng about it, and he’ll tell you that it’s a case of Sunner rather than later.

Oh, that’s as in Jovin Sunner, the hard-luck 6-foot-3 Grade 10 forward who did a little bit of everything on Sunday in leading the reigning 2020 champs to a berth in Monday’s Final Four here at the B.C. junior boys basketball championships.

“He’s had a lot of adversity this season, he has been sick and hurt and out of our line-up a lot,” said Boateng, “and it’s been one of the reasons our team took so long to build chemistry.”

Sunner couldn’t have looked more well-oiled Sunday, and as the heart of the Celtics’ motor, his offensive rebounds and his probing, shot-making presence were the difference.

Sunner scored a game-high 23 points at St. Pat’s topped Surrey’s No. 2-seeded, undefeated Fleetwood Park Dragons 51-39.

Jovin Sunner did it all for his St. Patrick’s Celtics on Sunday as the team topped previously-undefeated Fleetwood Park of Surrey. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2022. All Rights Reserved)

Talented and gutsy Fleetwood Park went up 27-21 with 7-0 run to half, but between the third and fourth quarters, St. Pat’s went on a 14-0 run to take a 41-33 lead that it would not surrender.

Ethan Santa Juana and Ryan Garcia each scored 11 points for the winners.

Rohan Dhanoa led the Dragons with 15 points while Izaec Oppal and Karan Billen each added 11 points.

“We played good defence the whole game, we just weren’t executing on offence,” said Boateng. “In the second half, we started following our systems and trusting each other moving the basketball, and that is when we started to get easy buckets.”

Two years ago, the Celtics were a pedal-to-the-metal offensive juggernaut.

Now, in 2022, the differences are noticeable.

“This team is built a lot more differently… it does it more by committee,” Boateng added. “We rely more heavily on defence as opposed to outscoring teams, and they love to grind out victories.”

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