The Tamanawis Wildcats have become a dynasty at the Surrey RCMP Classic senior boys high school basketball tournament.
Playing in the championship game for the sixth consecutive season, the Wildcats won their fourth all-Surrey title with a 97-69 victory over the Panorama Ridge Thunder Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
The Wildcats became just the third team to win three consecutive RCMP Classic banners, and the first public school to do so. The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors won five in a row from 1999 to 2003, and three in succession in 2008-10.
“It’s a big deal for our guys, because now they have won it at the junior and senior level,” said Wildcats coach Mike McKay. “They didn’t want to be the team to drop the ball, so to speak.”
With just three grade 12s in their lineup, the Wildcats are a mix of players who won last year’s RCMP Classic in either the junior or senior category. They never trailed in Saturday’s championship game, needing just five minutes to build a double-digit lead. Playing in their first-ever RCMP Classic final, the Thunder rallied in the second quarter to get to within two at 34-32, but the Wildcats’ lead grew slightly to 44-38 at half time. And after Tamanawis began the second half with an 8-2 run to go up by 12 points, they kept adding to their lead over the final 18 minutes.
“We started off pretty well, then made an adjustment to our press in the second quarter and our energy went down.” said McKay. “Then we made an adjustment at half time to match with their fast break, and it created some turnovers and we built on that.”
Miguel Tomley, Tamanawis’ Grade 10 point guard, won his first Most Valuable Player (MVP) award as a senior. He scored 47 points, the fourth-highest total in a championship game in the tournament’s 25-year history, two years after he was the MVP as a Grade 8 player while leading the Wildcats to an RCMP title in the junior category.
“I just let it come to me. I didn’t even know I had 47,” he said. “I know I had 30 at the half, but it didn’t seem like I had 17 more. I had the same number of shots I usually do, but it felt like I just wasn’t missing.”
Grade 12 guard Sagar Dulay netted 17 points for Tamanawis, with Grade 11 forward Gurman Banghu adding 15. Dulay was selected to the tournament’s first all-star team, with teammate Kyle Uppal a second team selection.
For the Thunder, Harsiman Bhullar with 25 points, Devon Dhillon with 15, and Sahil Dhami and Chuks Udevi with 12 each were the top scorers. Dhami on the first team and Udevi on the second were the Thunder players named to the all-star team.
Panorama Ridge made the most of its first-ever top five finish, placing second to one of the province’s best high school basketball teams.
“That’s an accomplishment,” said Thunder coach Parm Gill of the runner-up finish. “We’re not happy about the way this game went but it’s a learning process for us.
“This is the farthest the school has gone at the RCMP Classic, but the school has never made provincials at the senior level. So that’s what we’re aiming for now.”
Paced by all-stars Aaqib Dhillon (first team) and Jasman Basra (second team), the North Surrey Spartans claimed third place with an 81-68 win over the Southridge Storm on a consolation game. The Spartans were also the Most Sportsmanlike Team. The Storm, awarded fifth place, were led by first-team all-star and last year’s tournament MVP Hunter Hughes.
Placing fourth were the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, 61-57 winners over the Enver Creek Cougars in another consolation game.
Rounding out the first all-star team was Gurbant Dhaliwal of the L.A. Matheson Mustangs. Other second team selections were Brandon Tabing of Lord Tweedsmuir and Andrew Musison of Enver Creek. Macky Velasco of the Cougars was the tournament’s Most Inspirational Player.
The Semiahmoo Totems won the championship in the Junior category, defeating the Guildford Park Sabres 75-59 in Saturday morning’s final at Enver Creek Secondary. The Totems were there dominant team throughout the 20-team competition, winning four games by an average of 19 points, the closest game being the final against the Sabres.
“We’re very, very happy. It’s such a big tournament, so it’s nice to win it,” said Totems head coach Ed Lefurgy. “The boys played extremely hard, and defensively we were very good. We’ve got a big, athletic group, and our defensively intensity was great, we shot really well – it was just a good effort.”
Grade 10 guard Jordon Chen was named the tournament’s MVP.
“He was a one-man press break out there, and made great ball-handling decisions,” added Lefurgy. “He’s our point guard, and he’s just a natural.”