Terry Fox's Jayson Ikani, a Grade 9, scored a team-high 19 points for his Ravens in a B.C. junior bosy quarterfinal win over L.A. Matheson. (Photo by Ryan Molag property Langley Events Centre-TFSE 2024. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

B.C. Junior boys 2024 Elite 8: Terry Fox Grade 9 trio digs deeps for professor Chambers, Ravens top LA Matheson for Final Four berth!

No. 7 TERRY FOX 56 No. 4 L.A. MATHESON 49

LANGLEY — Rich Chambers has spent the majority of his Hall of Fame coaching career coming to the realization that in the end, it all comes up down to what his young student-athletes are able to get done on the court.

Yet as one of our game’s grandest professors has continued to age, the nature of high school basketball has done nothing but insure that each season that gap gets wider and wider.

So on Sunday afternoon, after his No. 7-seeded Terry Fox Ravens topped the No. 4 L.A. Matheson Mustangs of Surrey 56-49 in quarterfinal action here at the B.C. junior boys basketball championships, Chambers was asked for the one thing that made him most proud of his team’s effort.

“Our Grade 9’s played great,” he said referencing guards Jayson Ikani and Marvin Reyes and forward Matthew Shnear. “It was an unbelievable win and we are exceeding expectations.”

Make no mistake about it, the Ravens have their share of Grade 10 talent with players like Korbin Longquist, Noah Jean and Maxsym Cichecki.

Yet on Sunday, it was that Grade 9 trio which seemed to distinguish itself was all of the huge plays the Ravens needed to punch their tickets to Monday’s Final Four.

With 2:18 remaining, a Shnear three-pointer made it 51-47.

Shnear then got a steal in the post with the ball eventually ending up in the hands of Ikani, who somehow managed to score a lay-up within the mass of traffic under the basket for a 53-49 lead with 36.4 seconds left.

Shnear was a force inside defensively on as Matheson team boasting supremely talented forward Damien Onopitke, who scored a game-high 22 points.

Ikani, who scored a team-high 19 points, is giving every indication that he will be a difference-making guard with his length, anticipation and feel allowing him to be heard at both ends of the floor.

And Reyes, a backcourt leader from a long line of Ravens’ backourt leaders, set the tempo and the brought the poise en route to 12 points.

Grade 10 guard Noah Jean scorfed 10 points.

So what does the old man think of winning behind such youngsters?

“At Terry Fox anything is possible,” said Chambers, as longtime Ravens’ manager Ernie Vickers carried the Terry Fox statue, the team’s faithful talismen, off the court, for safe-keeping until Monday’s 8 p.m. semifinal against No. 1-seeded Oak Bay after Victoria’s Bays defeated the No. 8 Collingwood Cavaliers of West Vancouver 55-43 in its quarterifnal.

“I’m 73, almost 74 and I feel great,” he continued. “We have Ken Dockendorf on our staff with the Grade 9s and he’s taking that team to provincials. Terry Fox is a senior citizens’ haven.”

In a game tied 23-23 at the half, the Mustangs took a 39-35 lead into the fourth quarter.

Yet Terry Fox’s 10-1 run to start the fourth frame was just enough to hold back a talented Mustangs team that its head coach, Marik Sandhu, hoped was just beginning to hint at better things to come.

“We just didn’t execute like we usually do, but at end of day it’s still a great run,” Sandhu said of his team which was making its first-ever appearance at junior boys provincials. “A city banner, a South Fraser banner and it was a dogfight just to get out of the zone.

“It’s going to hurt the boys for a while and it should, but you’ll see us again at provincials. We’re new to the dance, and we’re hungry.”

Jaiden Shergill had 13 points in the loss, Jashan Mahal nine and Jason Hothi a further five.

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