MVP Braeden MacDonald (left) of Chilliwack's G.W. Graham Grizzlies steps up on defence against MEI's Connor Friesen during Eastern Valley senior boys AAA final played Feb. 27 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2022. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

This linebacker tackles hoops just fine! G.W. Graham post Braeden MacDonald scores 23 points, earns MVP nod as Grizz top MEI’s Eagles for 3A Eastern Valley title!

LANGLEY — Through the flooding and through the pandemic, Braeden MacDonald has persevered with a smile on his face.

On Sunday, the dream season for G.W. Graham’s 6-foot-4, 200-pound Grade 11 linebacker/tight end/power post just kept on getting better.

MacDonald, who in December helped the Grizzlies win a Subway Bowl senior varsity Quad-A football title at B.C. Place, kept the roll alive Sunday by scoring a game-high 23 points on the hardcourt in leading GWG to a 75-66 win over Abbotsford’s MEI Eagles in the Eastern Valley AAA zone championship final at the Langley Events Centre.

As a Grade 9, he was witness to the Grizzlies’ amazing run to the B.C. Triple A hoops title in 2020.

Now, he’s doing his part on the senior varsity as the Grizzlies get hot at just the right time for what is sure to be a grinding road if a potential repeat title is in the cards.

“I got a chance to watch these guys all rise up and win the provincial championships and now that’s our plan this year,” MacDonald explained after the same guy who finished third on his football team in tackles, dominated the painted areas in front of am especially vocal crowd at the LEC. “It’s an amazing feeling, after all of the hard work these guys have put in.”

Every basketball coach loves a player who can bring a football mentality to the hardwood, and Graham’s Jake Mouritzen is no different.

“B-Mac is our super-hero in football, and I think he plays basketball … mainly because he loves me,” Mourtizen teased after the win.

MEI Eagles’ guard Karn Sidhu (left) turns on the jets as he attempts to beat G.W. Graham’s Jared Hall off the dribble during Eastern Valley senior boys AAA final played Feb. 27 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2022. All Rights Reserved)

It was a game in which the Grizz were whistled for 21 first-half fouls and the Eagles 10.

With no judgement intended either way, it was the kind of half in which, if MacDonald wasn’t focused, the Grizzlies would be in big trouble.

And MacDonald was so dialled in, he only took one foul.

“He was the difference tonight because he battled on the boards and he stayed out of trouble,” said Mouritzen. “He needed to, and he did what he needed to do to make the sure the paint stayed plugged up.”

Brody Janzen scored 16 for the winners, while Jared Hall added another nine.

MEI, which led 39-33 at the half, was led by the 21 points of Grade 11 guard Gabe Vig. Seniors Sam Brandsma with 15 points, and Chirag Grewal with 10, also hit double figures.

The Eagles also advance to the provincial championships.

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