Home-court advantage helped lift the Fleetwood Park Dragons to a Fraser Valley Senior AAA boys high school basketball championship.
The Dragons, ranked sixth by BC Boys High School Basketball, defeated the Robert Bateman Timberwolves of Abbotsford 72-69 in the championship game of the eight-team Fraser Valley tournament Saturday night at Fleetwood Park Secondary.
Fleetwood Park will now advance to play in the B.C. championship tournament March 11-14 at the Langley Events Centre.
“We were up 29-16 and I thought we would coast to a win,” said Dragons head coach Jordan Taylor. “But we let them back in the game. It was nice to see the guys grind out a win like that.”
Armaan Khangura of the Dragons was the tournament MVP. Teammates Emeka Okuma and Nikhail Berar were first-team all-stars.
The Dragons edged the Rick Hansen Hurricanes 65-64 in a first-round game last Wednesday (Feb. 25) then toppled the Brookswood Bobcats 49-30 on Thursday. The three wins at the Fraser Valley tournament extended the Dragons’ win streak at Fleetwood Park Secondary to 34 games.
Fleetwood Park will open the provincial tournament Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. against Dawson Creek Secondary.
“The draw sets us up nicely,” said Taylor. “But we need everyone to play well. I think we have the potential to reach the final four, but all games are tough. Everyone is playing well at this time of year.”
The Delview Raiders hosted the Boys Senior AA Fraser Valley tournament, but had to go through the back door to qualify for the provincial tournament.
The Raiders, ranked second in the province, were upset by the Langley Christian Lightning 81-79 in the first round last Wednesday.
Eliminated from championship contention but still in pursuit of a top four finish and a berth to the B.C. championships, the Raiders cruised by the Thomas Haney Thunder 93-48 on Thursday, then clinched a place at the provincial tournament with a 98-66 victory over the Pacific Academy Breakers Friday night.
On Saturday, Delview won the third-place game 96-56 over Langley Christian.
“As a coach, I am extremely proud of my players who managed to stay mentally tough the day after the devastating loss to Langley Christian,” said Raiders coach Vladimir Nikic. “The boys wanted to show that the first loss of the Fraser Valley tournament was not a realistic indication of our ability.”
Wowie Untalan had a triple double for Delview in Saturday’s game, scoring 34 points to go with 15 assists and 13 rebounds. Bilaval Aujla with 28 points and Rehman Solehria with 22 also contributed to the win.
Untalan was named a first-team all-star, with Aujla and Arshdeep Saran selected to the second team.
Despite their number-two ranking in the provincial poll, Delview has been seeded 11th for the provincial tournament and has drawn the Kwalikum Kondors of Qualicum Beach in the first round next Wednesday.
“This year’s provincial championship is going to be the most competitive one in the last five years,” said Nikic. “Every year, there are one or two teams that stand out, but this year, there are no favourites. All 16 teams will have a legitimate chance of playing for the banner on Saturday night.”
The Southridge Storm, ranked fourth in B.C. and second in the Fraser Valley, won the Senior AA tournament, outlasting the G.W. Graham Grizzlies 92-88 in the championship game.
“It was a very up-tempo game, played at a fantastic pace,” said Storm head coach Steve Anderson. “We like to get the ball up the court, and we got the tempo in our favour in the second half. The guys executed well, and the pace came back to our level.”
Hunter Hughes, the six-foot-seven Grade 11 forward for the Storm, was the tournament MVP. Sam Chan was a first-team all-star with Matthew Anderau a second-team choice.
The Storm earned the second-seed for the B.C. championship tournament, also March 11-14 in Langley. The have drawn the Nechako Valley Vikings of Prince George in the first round, and also have the defending champion Lambrick Park Lions of Victoria and Delview on the same side of the draw.
“It’s a tough draw, but if we play up to our potential, we can compete,” said Anderson.