PORT COQUITLAM — Diego Maffia has engineered one of the most dramatic victories in recent B.C. boys high school basketball history.
The Oak Bay Bays’ sniper dribbled the length of the court and hit a three-pointer to beat the game-clock buzzer Friday, lifting his No. 8-ranked team past the host, heartbroken and No. 2-ranked Terry Fox Ravens 73-72, sending the Victoria school into Saturday’s championship final at the 30th annual Jonathan Taylor Legal Beagle invitational tournament.
Defending tournament champion Oak Bay will now face Surrey’s No. 4-ranked Holy Cross in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. final after the Crusaders beat the No. 9 Kelowna Owls 81-72 in the evening’s first semifinal.
The top two teams in the latest B.C. Quad-A Big 10 rankings have now both fallen here at the Beagle. Kelowna upset No. 1 Lord Tweedsmuir of Surrey on Thursday.
Maffia, who had come to PoCo averaging 34 points-per-game this season, met his average with the winning shot as his sense of timing, his lack of panic and his sense for the unreal all intersected with one of the biggest shots of the senior guard’s life.
The dagger brought closure to a super-tight affair between the provincially-ranked schools.
Oak Bay led 56-55 heading into the fourth quarter, but an 11-0 Terry Fox run later put them ahead 66-61.
In the first half, the Bays twice led by 10 points, but the Ravens had pulled the score to within two points (32-30) at intermission.
Maffia hit seven treys on the game, including two in the fourth quarter, accounting for his only points of the final frame.
Jaime Palamos Molins scored 17 points in the win and Ewan Mackenzie had 10 points.
Jacob Mand poured home a team-high 30 in the loss for Terry Fox. David Chien scored 11 while Jaden de Leon and Grady Stanyer added 10 apiece.
Holy Cross toppled Kelowna behind the dual 23-point performances of Tee Osei-Anim and Michael Risi.
The game was tied 18-18 at the end of the first quarter and 38-38 at the half before the Crusaders, who got a further 18 points from Brent Padilla, took a 60-55 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Owls, who sunk 24 treys Thursday to beat Lord Tweedsmuir, hit just seven on Friday.
Parker Johnstone led Kelowna with 17 points while Malcom Greggor had 13, and Hunter Simson 12. Jonathon Haughton added 10.
Oak Bay and Holy Cross have not faced each other this season.
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