LANGLEY —The Pinetree Timberwolves admit their lineage in the world of B.C. boys high school basketball is virtually non-existent.
And the Coquitlam school did not help matters of anonymity this season, donning game-day jersies with no numbers in the front, and only tiny ones in the back.
But after watching them play Sunday in a sudden-elimination clash with Surrey’s Tamanawis Wildcats for the Fraser Valley Quad-A zone’s seventh-and-final berth to the Telus B.C. championship tournament, all you can say to all of the above is details, details, details.
These guys are tough and as they showed the crowd at the Langley Events Centre, they can play.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” co-coach Chris Davies said after his team put together a 10-1 run over a span of 2:24 down the fourth quarter’s stretch drive to beat last season’s provincial finalists 78-74.
“We have only been to the B.C.’s once, but our kids worked in the spring, worked in the summer and worked in the fall and with all their effort, this came true.”
Indeed, 2006 was the one-and-only time that the Wolves have gone dancing in March. That season, with an offensive force named Aneetan Braich, they arrived as equal unknowns but won three games and finished fifth overall.
The current group?
You can’t undersell their potential.
Over the last month, Pinetree has been as tough as anyone in B.C. They have gutted out wins, won in overtime, and on Sunday, they did it against a core group of Tammy veterans.
Forward Maban Tenny, who scored 22 points for the winners, was absolutely clutch when it mattered most, and during his team’s late game-changing run, he scored eight of his team’s 10 points, including a 4-for-4 free-throw shooting performance.
Tamanawis, trailing 75-69, pulled to within a point with 1:40 left after Jeevan Sidhu hit a three and scored on a lay-up, but then the teams took turns turning the ball over. The Wildcats would not score the rest of the way, while the Wolves went 3-of-6 from the free-throw line.
“We have been good,” said Davies, “but the kids just didn’t believe in themselves.
The current Grade 12s, while 10 graders two seasons ago, missed out on a berth to the provincials at the very play-in game stage the team found itself in Sunday.
And the current Grade 11s, as 10th graders, also missed out on provincials at same the play-in stage.
It’s enough to give a team a complex, but on Sunday, Pinetree, led by its coaches Davies, Luke Ireland and Riaz Hudda, broke that cycle.
Swing-forward Armon Taef was exceptional in scoring a game-high 28 points. Landon Hiney added 12, and point guard Xavian Fleary brought tempo to the attack.
Tamanawis’ top two scorers were both underclassmen.
Grade 10 forward Jeevan Sidhu had 23 points while Grade 11 forward Darius Ballou had 16.
“We’ve shown a lot of resiliency and a bunch of the kids have shown so much social-emotional growth throughout this season. They have always been basketball players, but now they are starting to become men.”
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