Grade 10’s Dribble Their Way Into Provincials

Ryan Cheng.
The Game that made the team 1st in the independent league.

It has been a long, gruelling season for the grade 10 junior boys basketball team, and it has been nothing short of success; they’ve battled and conquered some of the best teams in the province, won the ISA championships, were crowned winners of 3 tournaments, and swept VC 2 games to 1 in the ever so famous rivalry. And although they’ve worked so hard and come so far, the season was yet to be over.

From February 25-28th, the junior boys basketball team qualified and participated in the Telus Junior Boys Provincial Tournament at the Langley Events Centre. This was the biggest tournament of the year, as the best of the best from across the province gathered to compete for the provincial banner at the most crucial basketball event of the season. Every game, tournament, and practice led up to this tournament, where only 1 out of the 32 teams would be deemed the provincial champions.

The Saints boys were pumped up and ready to compete as they played their first round game against Duchess Park, shutting their opponents down on the defensive end and scorching them on offense. They lead the game the entire way and cruised to a 66-26 victory, with every player on the team contributing to the win. That was 1 down and 4 to go, as the boys advanced to the next round en route to a potential championship.

But it was the second game that proved to be the biggest challenge, as the St. George’s squad matched up against the formerly ranked number 1 team in the province, Walnut Grove. It was purely by chance two of the best teams in the province met in just the second round, and only one team was going to advance. The junior boys had faced them twice before, and the series was split 1-1. Saints started off slow and trailed Walnut by 11 points heading into the 2nd, but were able to comeback and tie the game at 20 at halftime. Though the Saints boys played incredible defence in the second half, Walnut caught fire from beyond the arc and sank a bunch of threes, keeping themselves in the game. Both teams traded blows the entire way, and the game came down to the very last minute. And though both teams battled hard and gave it their all, Walnut Grove pulled away in the final seconds and won the game 46-38.

The Saints boys were devastated as their shot at the provincial banner went out the door, and the locker room was silent after the game. As one of the best teams in the province, they had a legitimate shot at winning it all, but were unable to capitalize against another tough team. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic season and there was still a shot to land 9th place with 3 games to go.

After the devastating lost to Walnut Grove, the boys had another tough test the next day against Kelowna High. The boys had a great start to the game and were leading by three points at the half. Unfortunately, Kelowna came out of the break on fire and eventually won the game.

In the fourth game against Lord Byng, the boys played a very consistent game. They had few turnovers, and limited the team fouls for most of the game. In the fourth quarter, Lord Byng went on a run and forced the game into overtime. The guys showed great character, as they didn’t let up and gridded out a 57-52 win in double overtime. The boys snapped a two game losing streak in a tough battle.

The last game of the season was against M.E.I, a physical team from Abbotsford. This was the team’s last time that they would all be teammates and brothers. The boys had a great start as they were on a 16-6 run at the beginning of the game. In the end, the boys were too much for M.E.I. to handle as they won 69-60. The guys left there all out on the court and ended the season on a high note.

The team ended up finishing 12th in the province. Although the guys finished 12th, that does not sum up how the junior boys season was. The team finished the season finishing first in the independent league, winning four out of six tournaments, and finishing the year with a tremendous record of 30-8.  Junior varsity point guard Justin Huang said, “Looking back we had a great season, and although we finished 12th in the province, we still accomplished all the other things we set out to do. We were not just teammates, we were brothers who bled for each other.”