RICHMOND — He may not always hear his name mentioned with the most accomplished players at his tier, but on the final day of the 2016-17 season Saturday, no one was better than Zak Hassan.
When the 6-foot-2 guard from H.J. Cambie Secondary ripped the mesh with a triple 41.1 seconds before the final buzzer, it was a clear message to the committee of the B.C. Boys High School Basketball awards committee that there was but one choice for Game MVP as his Double A’s beat the Single A’s 106-77 at R.C. Palmer Secondary.
“It was fun to finish off your high school career in this kind of game, representing Cambie when I don’t think anyone else has done that before from my school,” said Hassan who finished with a game-high 31 points.
“I was just trying to give its my all for my supporters and everyone watching the game,” continued Hassan. “Right off the bat, coach Darko (2A head coach Darko Kulic of Vancouver’s King George Secondary) said let’s have fun and win this game by giving it our all. So what was going through my head the whole game was just having fun.”
Perfect recipe for the Double-A team, but an absolute nightmare for a 1A team which held its own over the final three quarters, but was visibly nervous to open the game.
The Double A squad rolled out to an 18-0 lead after 5:32 of action on the second of back-to-back baskets by Hassan.
King George’s Yoel Teclehaimanot and Derick Gonzales of St. Patrick’s had earlier knocked down back-to-back treys to make it 16-0 as the Double A all-stars rolled to a 38-6 lead after the first quarter.
“The 1A kids got off to a nervous start but once they got over that, they were fine,” said BCHSBBA president Paul Eberhardt who said the weekend’s all-star format would continue again next season.
The Double A team, however, showed enough superiority to make the ending a forgone conclusion.
Not only did Hassan do it all, including 14 first-quarter points, but two others also supplied double-figure scoring on a night of balanced offence. (Full scoring summary at bottom)
Teclehaimanot finished with 12 points and Varsity Letters’ 2016-17 ‘Best Player You’ve Never Heard Of’, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Capilano University-bound Michael Kelly, added 16 points including four treys.
“I’ve known all about the best players in Double A and never got a chance to play with them so this was fun,” said Kelly, who would later go on to finish second in the B.C. three-point shooting contest. “And also, this being the last time to put on the uniform, it’s something pretty special.”
Added coach Kulic: “We wanted the Richmond guys, Marco (Ng) and Zak, to really enjoy playing in their hometown. Marco (six points) came out and hit some nice early shots and Zak, he just never took his foot off the pedal. But he didn’t just score, he played some great defence (with four blocks).
“Unfortunately we were missing the (Vancouver) Island guys,” continued Kulic of the zone which chose to stage its own all-star games on the same day. “There are some great kids there with the Somers twins (from Victoria’s Lambrick Park) and all of the Brentwood College kids. But today you saw so many players, not even from the top-ranked teams in the tier, get an opportunity to go out and they all played well. I told everyone on this team what an honour it was to coach them.”
Francis Obeta of Dawson Creek’s Ron Pettigrew Christian, led the Single A’s with 14 points.
Cody Dowell of PoCo’s B.C. Christian Academy scored 13 points and Levi Leyenhorst of Langley’s Credo Christian added 12.
DOUBLE A (106)
Josh Blas 10, Zak Hassan 31, Jon Steele 3, Kyle Guerrero 9, Derick Gonzales 7, Yoel Teclehaimanot 14, Michael Kelly 16, Marco Ng 6, Justin Van Dorp 4, Scott Lemphers 6.
SINGLE A (77)
Levi Leyenhorst 12, Jackson Katler 9, Carter Martens 6, Arshdeep Gill 5, Tony Liu 9, Justin Chen 2, Garrett Tower 5, Nigel Charlie 2, Francis Obeta 14, Cody Dowell 13.
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