It’s the Fraser Valley champion Rick Hansen Hurricanes against the Okanagan champion South Kamloops Titans in today’s B.C. senior boys Triple A final, 6 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
Here’s a look at the two semifinal games from Friday:
RICK HANSEN 59 BODWELL 50
LANGLEY — Abbotsford’s Hurricanes showed the kind of late game poise that is the stuff of champions on Friday.
Building a 17-point lead in the third quarter, the ‘Canes hunkered down to withstand a late run from the Howe Sound champion Bodwell Bruins of North Vancouver to earn the school’s first-ever B.C. championship finals appearance.
“We came back after a tough game last night, and I was worried in beginning that we might not have the energy,” said head coach Steve Twele, “but we played like a team. We moved the all well and got the job done.”
Josh Dhillon led the winners with a game-high 20 points, but was forced into an 8-of-30 shooting night by the Bruins.
Aman Dhillon, likewise, shot 4-of-14 to finish with 13 points, while Gurkirat Sohi added 12.
“They have great poise with the ball,” said Twele of the Bruins, who were led by the 16 points of Seckin Topac, 14 from Yagiz Torer and 12 more from Canberk Gungor. “They don’t rush and they find open teammates with ease.”
Yet it was another step forward for the Rick Hansen program, which has previously played at Triple A when it was the highest tier in the province and made the event behind the play of superstar Jacob Doerksen.
“Last year we played in the semifinals and we got down 20 and then came back to within two but lost to Steveston-London,” said Twele. “So to get back to this point and then to push through? That was big for our program.”
SOUTH KAMLOOPS TITANS 72 BYRNE CREEK 56
LANGLEY — The best way to describe the fortitude of the South Kamloops Titans team which will play in Saturday’s Telus B.C. senior boys Triple A championship final is to compare them to an armoured tank.
Burnaby’s Byrne Creek Bulldogs threw everything they could in front of the Okanagan champions in the opening game of Friday’s Final Four at the Langley Events Centre.
In the end, however, the Titans’ tank rolled to a 72-56 victory and gives the school its first-ever appearance in a senior boys varsity provincial championship final.
Byrne Creek, the Lower Mainland champions, fell behind by as many as 15 points in the second quarter but at one stage had pulled to within two points.
In near clinical fashion, however, the Titans did what they needed to do to get another run going
“Most teams would have crumbled but we are relentless and we are in shape and that is the biggest thing,” said Titans’ head coach Tim Unaegbu. “These guys work hard, they are calm under pressure.”
No one more so than Titans’ senior forward Ben MacDonald, the roster glue-guy, who not only provided 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals, but all of the little hustle plays that added up to the win.
“That’s my dude,” Unaegbu said of MacDonald. “He is a workhorse and without him, we wouldn’t be here. In Grade 10 he told me that we were going to be here. I believed him and today they played their hearts out.”
Ripley Martin, the 6-foot-9 Grade 11 centre, scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, guards Nick Sarai and Reid Jansen scored 13 each while forward Quin Adam had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
For the Bulldogs, Friday was a game in which they never got into their usual uptempo rhythm.
Credit that to the Titans, but maybe a little to some nerves?
“We missed a lot of free throws and a lot of lay-ups but at the same time I don’t want to take anything away from them at all,” Bulldogs head coach Bal Dhillon said of South Kamloops.
“That’s a great team that is going to show very well in the final.”
Grade 10 forward Bithow Wan led Byrne Creek with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Martin Djunga added 15 points and Abdul Bangura 12 points.
“I am really proud of our guys, that we fought right to the end and that is what this all about,” said Dhillon.
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