BURNABY — You didn’t need Duchess Park head coach Jordan Yu to provide further details following his team’s semifinal clash Friday night here against the North Delta Huskies at St. Thomas More’s Chancellor 2020.
Some games are pretty hard to forget.
“We knew they were coming in with a different team from last year, but I think to our benefit, our guys remember last year very well,” said Yu following his Triple-A No. 2-ranked team’s decisive 78-46 semifinal win over the unranked Huskies. “It doesn’t seem like too long ago, so the guys really got up to play.”
In case you have forgotten, in a thriller last March at the Langley Events Centre, Huskies’ senior Suraj Gahir banked home a three-pointer with under three seconds remaining, the dagger sending the ‘Dawgs to a 62-61 win and an eventual B.C. title.
By the start of Chancellor week on Wednesday, it was clear that Prince George’s Condors were ready to follow the same path as the Huskies, also the 2019 Chancellor champions.
Winning for the third straight day here in Burnaby and set to face either No. 1 G.W. Graham or No. 5 Sir Charles Tupper in Saturday’s 6 p.m. final, Duchess Park looked in command from start to finish.
“We thought they were one of the best teams in the province last year and they’ve got almost everybody back this year,” said North Delta head coach Bill Edwards of Duchess Park.
So solid were the Condors on the defensive end that they limited North Delta to just five points in the third quarter, building a 20-8 lead after the first quarter, and later holding a 62-28 lead heading into the fourth.
“We really wanted to do it on the defensive end,” said Yu. “We knew they were going to run their 2-3 zone, and they do a great job at it. You can’t really on high school kids to hit a bunch of outside shots all the time, so we just wanted to rebound the ball, push it, and get as many transition baskets as possible.”
Caleb Lyons, whose reputation as one of the province’s elite players, seems to grow with every game, poured hom a game-high 23 points in the win.
Connor Lewis with 12 points and Jackson Kuc with 11 more rounded out the Condors’ double-digit scorers.
The Huskies, unranked and having perhaps the biggest sneakers to fill of any team in B.C. this season, gutted out what has been their signature win to the season, beating No. 7-ranked R.A. McMath of Richmond 57-51 in its Wednesday tournament opener before beating host STM 60-57 in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
“We’re something like nine games into the season and we have gotten better most games,” said Edwards, who in another era had coached North Delta to top-tiered B.C. titles in 1975 and 1990. “We came into this tournament wanting to prove that we were good enough to make the (B.C.) tournament, and I think we accomplished that. Now we just have to work even harder.”
Eshaan Kapour led North Delta with 10 points while Sagar Ranouta added nine.
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