Claremont's Ethan Boag (right) looks for space in the post against Holy Cross' Logan Mathers on Saturday in the fifth-seventh clash at TBI 2019. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

TBI 2019’s Fifth-place game: Victoria’s Claremont Spartans ready to rise in Big 10 poll after topping three ranked teams

LANGLEY — Victoria’s Claremont Spartans are ready to do some climbing this week when the Varsity Letters’ Big 10 Quad-A senior boys basketball rankings are released.

Ben Manns drained a critical three-pointer with 56.9 seconds left, a highlight in the capital city crew’s game-closing 10-2 run, in a 77-72 win over Surrey’s No. 5-ranked Holy Cross Crusaders to finish fifth at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational. Holy Cross finished seventh.

On the week, the Spartans went 3-1 against a field of four teams, all of whom were ranked in the top tier of B.C.’s Top 10.

Claremont opened play Thursday with a win over co-No. 10 Lord Tweedsmuir, lost in the quarterfinals to No. 1 Burnaby South, then bounced back to beat both No. 9 Terry Fox and No. 5 Holy Cross.

After Saturday’s win, Claremont head coach Brandon Dunlop was asked how much he thought his team grew.

“I think a lot,” he said. “It’s been really nice because we have been rolling 10 or 11 guys and to get that experience against Mainland teams is so big.

“You have to play for everything over here, there’s no easy games,” Dunlop continued. “Not to take anything away from Vancouver Island, but when you play these teams that you don’t see often, it raises your game. The intensity is there. As much as we beat each other up in practice, you have to compete against different teams. These are the teams we are going to have to beat if we want to do something special this year, so I am really proud of my guys.”

Holy Cross led by as many as nine points (52-43) partway through the third quarter, and they carried a 61-56 lead into the final frame.

An 11-0 Claremont run followed by a 9-0 Holy Cross run gave each team the opportunity to savour short-lived leads.

The game-closing surge, however, highlighted by the Manns’ dagger, won the game for Claremont.

Ethan Boag led Claremont with 26 points, and Nick Babaeff and Manns added 19 and 17 points respectively.

Uyi Ologhola led Holy Cross with 26 points while Brent Padilla had 16.

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