At Fleetwood Park Secondary, the first provincial championship in high school basketball is partly a family affair.
The Fleetwood Park Dragons captured the B.C. Senior AAA Boys High School Basketball Championship Saturday evening at the Langley Events Centre (LEC).
“It’s amazing,” said Dragons head coach Jordan Taylor, a former player at Fleetwood Park and son of longtime athletic director and former Dragons head coach Kerry Taylor. “Dad has put in so much time into the program since the school opened.”
Fleetwood Park became a competitive basketball team soon after its doors opened in 1994, when Kerry Taylor began building an athletic program at the Surrey school, qualifying for five provincial championship tournaments in its first 20 years.
But the first title didn’t come until its sixth try Saturday, and very nearly didn’t happen. It took a huge comeback in the championship game, a 73-65 win over the Sir Charles Tupper Tigers of Vancouver.
The Dragons, seeded second for the 16-team tournament, missed their first eight shots from inside the three-point line in the first quarter, and fell behind 21-3 against the tournament’s top seed.
“We struggled and the guys were nervous. The shots wouldn’t drop,” said coach Taylor. “We had to keep them composed, and we had to grind our way back, a bit at a time.
“And that’s what we did, we won each quarter. We were down by nine at the half, and just one at three-quarter time.”
Travis Erickson, recipient of the Player of the Game award, hit a pair of three-point shots to give the Dragons a bit of a spark in the second quarter. He went on to score 14 points.
Emeka Okuma shook off the sluggish first quarter to score 20 points, grab 18 rebounds and block seven shots over the final 30 minutes.
The six-foot-three Grade 12 forward was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and a first-team all-star.
Noah Lucas finished the game with 16 points, half the total coming from the free-throw line, where he was good on eight-of-nine throws down the stretch.
“He told us during a timeout, he wanted the ball at the line,” said Taylor. “So we gave it to him. And he knocked them down.”
Fleetwood Park knocked off three top 10 teams at the LEC on their way to the championship. After an easy 84-34 first-round win over the Dawson Creek Wolves, the Dragons topped the seventh-seed St. Thomas More Knights 83-73 in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, then edged the third-seed R.A. McMath Wildcats 78-75 on Friday evening.
Armaan Khangura, a Grade 12 guard who netted 21 points in the win over St. Thomas More, was a second-team all-star.
“I always thought we had a legitimate chance, but knew it would be a tough test,” said Taylor. “We beat three of the best teams, other than us, so we deserved it.”