LANGLEY — The North Delta Huskies labeled their unexpected loss in the third round of the recently-completed Fraser Valley junior varsity championships as “well-timed.”
So often, phrases like that are coach-speak designed to deflect the negative vibes that a poor performance can invite.
In the case of the Huskies, however, they meant it.
North Delta was stung by a 53-52 loss to Langley’s R.E. Mountain Eagles, and they’ve carried their big hurt through the first three rounds of the Telus B.C. junior boys championships at the Langley Events Centre.
On Sunday, the ‘Dawgs punched their ticket to Monday’s Final Four after its suffocating and relentless brand of two-way basketball carried them to a decisive 62-36 win over Vancouver’s St. George’s Saints.
Afterwards, Huskies coach Jesse Hundal admitted as much, that the loss which relegated North Delta to the No. 11 seed here this week, forced everyone to look in the mirror.
“After that loss we started to focus more on doing things properly, not getting ahead of ourselves and not worrying about rankings,” said Hundal. “We came up with a slogan: ‘Effort and heart equals everything I can do. Everything I will do.’ And it’s all for North Delta. Guys bought in and we focused and I think all of that has added up to the success.”
The Huskies balance was evident throughout, with four players hitting double figures on offence.
Suraj Gahir led the winners with 14 points, Vik Hayer added 13 points, while Arun Atker and Bhavraj Thiara each added 12 points.
Gahir and Thiara each hit four triples.
Jerric Palma led St. George’s with 14 points.
The Huskies will now face Sir Charles Tupper in a 6 p.m. semifinal Monday on the South Court at the LEC.
On the other side of championships draw Sunday, two other quarterfinal games were played.
*The West Vancouver Highlanders opened on 19-4 first-quarter run and built their lead to 30 points en route to a 57-39 win over Langley’s R.E. Mountain Eagles.
The Highlanders’ balanced scoring was led by the 14 points of Erik Neussel. Eason Cui added eight points. The Eagles’ run on the championship side of the draw ended as Jarrett Jacobs scored a game-high 21 points in defeat.
*The Burnaby South Rebels’ senior varsity team came up one spot shy of berth in the provincial championships open Friday at the Lower Mainland championships, but their juniors are in the B.C. Final Four.
Baltej Sohal scored a game-high 26 points while Jiordano Khan added 18 more as the Rebels rolled to a 78-54 win over Kelowna’s upset-minded Okanagan-Mission Huskies.
OKM had opened the tournament by upsetting No. 1-seeded Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers of Surrey.
Jaden De Leon added 12 for the Rebels while Emir Krupic added 10.
Harrison Bortolon and Matty Kopp added a dozen each in the loss for the Huskies.
No. 4 West Vancouver and No. 8 Burnaby South will meet Monday in a 7:30 p.m. semifinal on the South Court at the LEC.
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