LANGLEY — It hasn’t been that long since Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Secondary last experienced the sweet sensation of a provincial boys basketball championships, but after six years, Bulldogs nation might be one sleep away from adding another.
Point guard Filip Subotic’s game-high 29 points, as well a healthy does of his on-court generalship proved to be the difference as Churchill’s offence exploded over the second half en route to an 80-60 win over the Kelowna Owls in the first of two semifinals here at the 2020 B.C. Junior Boys Basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre.
Churchill can win a B.C. title with a victory tomorrow (against the winner of Monday’s second semifinal between No. 1 St. Pat’s and No. 4 Walnut Grove). It would be the first since SWC’s senior team claimed the top-tiered 2014 Triple A championship right here at the LEC.
“We haven’t been in a title game since so it would be nice to bring it home,” said Bulldogs head coach Rob Bayne.
If Subotic plays like he did Monday, that second provincial title might well be on its way.
“He is one of the best players I have ever coached, one of the smartest for sure, and when the game is on the line, he kicks it up another notch,” said Bayne. “I tell the kids that if you’re open, he is going to find you.”
Nursing a 33-31 halftime lead, No. 2 seed Churchill used defensive pressure and solid rebounding to key its transition game, and with Subotic at the controls and favourite targets Milan John (19 points) and Paolo Murphy (13 points) ready to supply all the finish the Bulldogs would need, the second-half run was at times dominant.
“I think they were worn down a little bit, they play the same style we do, up and down, up and down, but our guys kicked in that little bit of extra energy,” said Bayne of the No. 3 seeded Owls. “I don’t know where that energy came from but it really carried us in the second half.”
In their only previous meeting this season, Churchill beat Kelowna 60-51 in an exhibition game in January. The Bulldogs have not faced either St. Pat’s or Walnut Grove this season.
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