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Thunder to play Totems for RCMP banner

Finalists determined for all-Surrey tournament at Enver Creek Secondary
Aassem Abdel Aziz of the Semiahmoo Totems dribbles against the defence of the Southridge Storm during a quarterfinal game of the Surrey RCMP Classic. The Totems will play the Panorama Ridge Thunder in tomorrow's championship game.

For the first time in seven years, the Tamanawis Wildcats won’t be playing for a championship on the final day of the Surrey RCMP Classic senior boys high school basketball tournament.

The Wildcats were upended 61-48 by the Panorama Ridge Thunder in the first of two semifinal games of the all-Surrey tournament played tonight (Friday) at Enver Creek Secondary. The game was a rematch of last year’s final, won by Tamanawis 97-69.

The Wildcats have been in the championship game in each of the past six seasons, winning four championships, including the past three.

But Panorama Ridge, in just their second appearance in the RCMP Classic semifinals in the 26-year history of the tournament, were the dominant team Friday.

The Thunder used a 14-2 run in the first quarter to take a 16-6 lead after 10 minutes and increased the lead to 31-18 by half time. Trailing 44-31 at three-quarter time, the Wildcats cut the difference to eight points midway through the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they came.

Harsimran Bhullar paced the Thunder attack with 22 points, with Gurman Banghu adding 18 and Raphael Alcoreza netting 11.

Kyle Uppal was the lone player on the Wildcats to score in double digits, notching 14 points.

If Panorama Ridge is to win its first RCMP Classic championship, they will have to defeat a team which has won the title two times, the last coming more than two decades ago.

Semiahmoo hasn’t played in an RCMP Classic championship game since 2000 when they lost 103-51 to the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors. The Totems won their second of their two RCMP banners in 1995, defeating the Holy Cross Crusaders 63-58.

Semiahmoo defeated the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 95-92 in a battle between two of the province’s top 10 teams Friday night at Enver Creek.

The Totems were ranked ninth in the latest Top 10 rankings of teams posted on the website of the BC Boys High School Basketball Association, one position ahead of Lord Tweedsmuir.

The Panthers fell behind 16-7 early in the second semifinal of the night at Enver Creek, but scored 11 consecutive points to go up 18-16. They stretched their advantage to 43-27 at one point in the second quarter, but the Totems chipped away and took the lead in the last minute of the third quarter to take a 69-67 edge

into the final 10 minutes.

The Panthers went up by one point early in the fourth period, then a 10-0 run by Semiahmoo had the South Surrey school in front 83-74, a lead they would hold until full time.

Vlad Mihaila and Adam Paige paced Semiahmoo with 27 points each. Brian Wallock added 18 points before fouling out of the game in the fourth quarter.

Dylan Kinley topped the Panthers in scoring, netting a game-high 32 points, scoring 12 in the fourth quarter as Tweedsmuir mounted a comeback which fell short.

Dilsharan Gill added 20 for the Panthers, with Brandon Tobin contributing 18 and Gavin Gill scoring 15.

The Totems and Thunder will tip-off at 7:45 p.m. in the championship game of the tournament at Enver Creek. Tamanawis and Lord Tweedsmuir will play for third place at 5:45 p.m.