LANGLEY – The last time Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers senior boys’ basketball team qualified for the high school provincial championships, Walt Disney’s Peter Pan hit the silver screen for the first time.
Sixty-two long years passed before they qualified for the tourney, and they’ll be there again thanks to a second-place finish at the Quad A Fraser Valley Basketball Championships on Saturday (Feb. 28).
Head coach Raj Bagry said the team might not have a standout player, but the players work as a unit and have built lasting relationships.
"We don’t have one star. We have five kids that will score. The guys coming off the bench will put their minutes in," said Bagry. "There’s not one person that does it all. It’s family."
After 14 years at the helm of the senior boys’ program, Bagry is proud of the success the team found at this tournament.
"It’s big. It’s team spirit. It’s school spirit," he said.
The Panthers, whose record is 20-13 this season, lost 88-78 in the final to divisional rivals Yale Lions of Abbotsford at Langley Events Centre.
"We have friends on that team, but next time we’ll try and get a better start. We had a bad start on this one," said the coach on his third loss to Yale this season.
The Cloverdale school came off of the radar and entered the tournament ranked tenth of 24 teams, and was not projected to punch a ticket to the dance.
However, a couple of big wins against No. 7 Pitt Meadows and No. 2 Walnut Grove
put the Panthers in the semifinal against Semiahmoo.
Tweedsmuir defeated the Totems 96-79 to advance to the Fraser Valley final.
Panthers forward Iqwinder Gill said it was tough to lose to Yale again, but he felt they were always in the game.
Gill, who finished the game with a teamhigh 24 points, was named a first-team all-star.
"It means nothing. It means something, but it means nothing at the same time," he said of his award. "We all wanted to win and we didn’t get the win."
His teammate Justin Mason joined him on the first team, while Brett Norris was named a second-team all-star.
Semiahmoo finished the tournament
in fourth place after losing to tournament favourite Terry Fox 103-70 in the bronzemedal game.
Semiahmoo head coach Ed Lefurgy said his team became a little complacent toward the end of the tournament.
"We need to play every possession with urgency and we didn’t do that," he said. "We need a little more consistency from our effort."
He said he’s happy with finishing fourth, but not satisfied.
"Us making (provincials) isn’t surprising to me at all. I always knew we had the potential. When we play well, we can play with anybody in the province.
"We want to get back there and we want to establish a very strong perennial
power," said Lefurgy. "My goal when I got to Semiahmoo six years ago was not to make one (provincial) tournament."
The Totems made teams take notice of them after defeating W.J. Mouat by 38 and Holy Cross by 44 before losing to Lord Tweedsmuir in the semifinal.
This is the first time the South Surrey school has qualified for the provincial championship since 1976.
Semiahmoo’s Patrick Dujmovic made the first all-star team after tallying 28 points in the semifinal. His teammate, Brian Spanier, made the second team.
Entering the 16-team provincial championships, Lord Tweedsmuir will come in at No. 5 and play No. 12 West Vancouver, while No. 10 Semiahmoo will face either Dover Bay or Cowichan.
In the Triple A bracket, Fleetwood Park won their Fraser Valley championship game 72-69 against Robert Bateman. The Dragons enter their provincial bracket as the No. 2 team and will play No. 15 Dawson Creek in their opening game.
Southridge took the Double A Fraser Valley trophy after defeating G.W. Graham 92-88. The Storm’s Hunter Hughes was named tournament MVP.
Double A tourney hosts Delview, the North Delta school, also qualified for the provincial tournament after finishing third.
Southridge picked up the No. 2 spot in the provincials and will take on No. 15 Nechako Valley, while No. 11 Delview will play No. 6 Kwalikum.
All of the senior boys’ provincial championships take place from March 11 to 14 at Langley Events Centre.
For more information, visit BChighschoolbasketballchampionships. com.