St. George's players (from left) Max Mache and Luke Dixon try to deny Terry Fox Ravens' scrappy Jake McFarland for a loose ball during third-fifth game Saturday at the 31st annual Terry Fox Legal Beagle in PoCo. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

Legal Beagle 2020: As Saints grab bronze ‘brass’ ring with win over pesky Ravens, coach sees promise of 2018’s B.C. JV champs

PORT COQUITLAM — When it comes to his Class of 2020 seniors, St. George’s Saints head coach Guy da Silva knows all about their championship DNA.

Two years ago, in February of 2018, da Silva guided the current Saints seniors to the B.C. junior varsity title.

All this week at the 31st annual Terry Fox Legal Beagle invitational, da Silva’s No. 8-ranked Saints were the team to watch, especially following its 67-52 win over No. 2 Kelowna in a Friday morning quarterfinal.

On Saturday, the Saints wrapped up the Beagle with a gritty 71-68 victory over a rapidly-improving squad of Terry Fox Ravens in the third-fifth contest.

Afterwards, the man who stepped into the shoes of the legendary Bill Disbrow this season, had a hard time hiding his smile when the topic was the ever-improving stature of his team.

“Our grade 12s are a special group of young men, so much character,” said da Silva. “They work so hard on and off the court, and I think they really have that championship potential.

“We’re not the prettiest team offensively but we really get after it on defence,” he added. “I think as we continue to find our rhythm, we will be right in the mix with the rest of the top teams.”

On Saturday, however, the Saints discovered they could never rest on the Ravens.

Typical of the Terry Fox pluck?

Twice in the final 30 seconds, Terry Fox’s Cam Slaymaker pulled his team to within two points, and a had chance to make it 69-68 with 11.7 seconds remaining if not for missing the back end of an and-one opportunity.

Slaymaker finished with a game-high 29 points, while fellow Grade 11 Aras Jahangiri aded 16, and senior guard Ko Takahashi 11.

Battling in the post, St. George’s Jaxon Cohee scored 19 points Saturday to help lead the Saints past host Terry Fox in the Legal Beagle bronze-medal final. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)

The Saints got huge nights from their two guiding offensive lights.

The 2018 B.C. junior MVP Sam Wooder scored a team-high 27 points, while Jaxon Cohee added 19 more before fouling out late in the proceedings.

As da Silva watched his team find ways to stay ahead of Terry Fox down the stretch drive, he pointed to the team’s holiday trip as a key reason why.

“We were all in the same house for five days of bonding and four great basketball games,” he said of taking part in the Jerry Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas where Saints split their games. “You can see the benefits in close games like today, where all of the guys are pulling together.”

Now, the goal is put together more gems like their performance against Kelowna the rest of the way.

“You hold a great team like Kelowna to 50 points, it really speaks to the kind of defence we can play,” he said. “But that took a lot out of us, and Centennial beat the us badly in the second half. But we’re making the steps we need to be ready for February and that last (league) game against Vancouver College.”

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