SURREY â€” After being named the Most Valuable Player of the senior boysâ€™ Triple A basketball provincials, Emeka Okuma forgot the first rule of sports: Donâ€™t drop the ball.
Walking across the hardwood to celebrate, the six-foot-three-inch forward dropped his trophy, decapitating the golden basketball from its base.
â€¯It didnâ€™t matter in the big picture because the Grade 12 student led the Dragons to a 73-65 victory over top-ranked Sir Charles Tupper Tigers in the championship game Saturday (March 14) at the Langley Events Centre.
The game didnâ€™t start well for the No. 2 seed Fleetwood Park, who found themselves behind 21-3 after missing all eight of their first-quarter shots inside of the three-point arc.
However, the squad found its rhythm in the second frame, cutting the Tigers lead to nine points going into halftime.
The Dragons went on a 22-4 run, which fell on either side of the break and reduced the East Vancouver schoolâ€™s lead to a point.
From that moment on, Jordan Taylorâ€™s team retained momentum and forced Tupper into a tough situation when Travis Erickson (later named player of the game) hit three straight triples in the fourth quarter to make the score 61-53.
Okuma, who was three blocks shy of a triple-double in the final (20 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks), averaged 17.8 points and 15 rebounds over the four-game tournament.
â€œOur coaches put in our mind that weâ€™re here for a reason and that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,â€ the MVP and first team all-star said.
Coachâ€¯Taylor said his team suffered from â€œpre-game jittersâ€ to start the game, but got out of the slump by playing tough defence and attacking Tupperâ€™s zone defence.
â€œOnce our guys started to attack, they really just found the seams and everything just started to click for us,â€ he said.
Assistant coach Nick Day said heâ€™s never been through a game where he went through so many emotions saying this rollercoaster game was identical to how their season went.
This is the first time the Fleetwood Park senior boysâ€™ program has won a provincial basketball championship and the team will be jumping up to play Quad A basketball next season.
It is also the first time a Surrey public school has won a senior boysâ€™ provincial basketball title at any tier since the 1981 North Surrey Spartans.
Fleetwood Park guard Armaan Khangura, who played the entire season with a broken bone in his hand, was named to the second all-star team.
The Dragons defeated Dawson Creek (84-34), defending champions St. Thomas More Collegiate (83-73 OT) and No. 3 R.A. McMath (78-75) to get to the final.
Delview takes second in AA
In the Double A championship game, the No. 11 Delview Raiders suffered a tough 66-40 loss to Victoriaâ€™s St. Michaelâ€™s University School.
After the game, Raiders head coach Vlad Nikic told his team not to hang their heads because they â€œwon second place.â€
â€œThere are 100 more schools that wanted to be in our shoes right now,â€ he said. â€œI canâ€™t be more proud of what these guys and what this school has achieved. We have to be proud of winning second place in this tournament.â€
Southridge finished the tournament with the bronze medal after beating West Vancouverâ€™s Collingwood Cavaliers 73-70 thanks to Azwa Mohamedâ€™s three-point shot with less than four seconds remaining.
Storm head coach Steve Anderson was pleased with his boysâ€™ performance at the tournament even though they didnâ€™t get to play for a championship.
â€œWe would obviously love to play in the final, but I think that winning your last game is always a good thing,â€ he said.
In the Quad A tournament, both Lord Tweedsmuir and Semiahmoo found themselves playing against each other on the final day for seventh place in what was a repeat of the Fraser Valley semifinal.
The Panthers won 100-88 in overtime.
This was the first time the Cloverdale school qualified for the provincials since 1953.
â€¯For more information and scores from the tournament, visit Bchighschoolbasketballchampionships.com.â€¯