LANGLEY — The tournament committee seeding the 16 teams for this season’s B.C. senior boys Single A championships were vindicated by Friday’s Final Four when the top four seeds all advanced to the frenzied semi-final round.
Yet come championship Saturday, No. 2 Kelowna Christian revealed the fact that it may be ready to start something of a dynasty at the province’s small-school tier.
Buoyed by incredible depth, intense focus off the opening tip and enough youth to suggest there’s a lot more to come, KCS’ Knights came steam-rolling out of the gates against Langley’s No. 4 Credo Christian Kodiaks, claiming an 81-45 victory.
It was the first B.C. title for the Knights since their triumph over Immaculata back in 2015.
Kelowna Christian, contesting with gusto everything the Kodiaks put up on the offensive end, used their defensive presence to create an offensive energy of their own.
By the late stages of the second quarter, that equaled a 31-point lead and the distinct feeling that the game was already over.
“Yesterday we struggled shooting the ball,” said second-year KCS head coach Dan Benson of surviving a tight 58-51 win over Chilliwack’s No. 3 Highroad Academy Knights. “Today, it was all business. We knew what we were capable of doing and we just went out and executed.”
The Knights depth was incredible.
Benson often rolled three-to-four players onto the floor at a time and there was no drop-off in play, even with the talented ninth-grade players who had earlier this month won that age group’s provincial title before being called up to the senior varsity.
Will Dykstra, the talented Credo guard, led his team in scoring with 13 points, but the Knights considered that a victory as they were able to limit him to 6-of-22 shooting.
“We really focused on defence, and (Josh Flood), he deserved the Best Defender (award),” said gracious Grade 11 point guard Indy Hallet, who scored 17 points and was named the tourney’s Top Defensive player. “That was our focus: to not let (Dykstra) score. They have some very good shooters and we had to make sure we always had a hand up.”
Depth was huge for the Knights.
Ten Knights hit the scoresheet, led by the 23 points of silky-smooth tournament MVP Colin Christophe, the 6-foot senior guard.
Flood and Grade 9 Parker Martens each scored 10.
Credo Christian was coming off an emotional double-overtime win the night before over No. 1-seed Glenlyon Norfolk of Victoria, yet Kodiaks’ head coach Justin Vanderploeg refused to use it as an excuse.
“That doesn’t make a difference,” he said. “You’ve got to be excited about playing in a finals. You could have one hour of sleep and you should come out good in the finals. So no factor there.”
Vanderploeg admitted that Kelowna Christian came out in a shooting zone.
“They hit a lot of shots, and we didn’t answer back,” he said, getting a further 12 points from guard Gavin Grim. “We were too worried about what they were hitting than what we were supposed to be doing. We’ll learn from that.”
Benson, a 2010 Kelowna Christian grad, tipped his hat to the school’s athletic director and longtime senior boys varsity head coach Tim Martens for the work he had put in to establish its base.
“Tim has put so many hours into this program and there is no question we would not be here today without those efforts,” said Benson. “He kept it consistent through all his years when it came time to developing players and I am always talking to him and learning more. He is my consultant and a blessing to be around.”
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