Junior Warriors win RCMP title

Enver Creek’s Zoravar Sandhu (right) tries to block the shot of WRCA’s Tyus Allen (left) in Saturday’s final. - Boaz Joseph photo
Enver Creek’s Zoravar Sandhu (right) tries to block the shot of WRCA’s Tyus Allen (left) in Saturday’s final.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph photo

The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors senior boys’ reign as champions of the RCMP Basketball Classic came to an abrupt end last week, but the school’s junior squad ensured that at least one WRCA team walked away with a trophy.

The junior Warriors – which senior coach John Dykstra called “probably the best junior team in the province” – finished first overall in the junior boys portion of the tournament, defeating the Enver Creek Cougars 58-33 in the final game Saturday at Enver Creek Secondary.

“It was our first real challenge of the season – there were some really good teams there – and I thought the boys responded very well,” said WRCA coach Doug Lopushinsky, whose team was fresh off a pre-Christmas tournament in Edmonton, where they played against older competition.

“The boys are really learning to work hard for one another, which is really nice to see.”

Earlier in the season, WRCA – ranked in the top five on every provincial list out there – won a tournament on Vancouver Island, beating every team “by about 30, 40 points,” Lopushinsky said.

WRCA point guard Tyus Allen was named tournament MVP at the RCMP Classic.

“He played real well for us – he’s a very smart player,” Lopushinsky said.

The head coach also had high praise for forward Peter Spangehl, whom Lopushinsky called “a beast on the boards.”

“I think he averaged about 12 (rebounds) a game,” Lopushinsky said.

Two Warriors, Sam Ykema and Vartan Tanielian, were named first-team all-stars. Spangehl was named to the tournament’s second all-star team.

White Rock advanced to the championship game after squeaking past Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 61-58 on Thursday.

Despite being considering one of B.C.’s top junior boys squads, Lopushinsky said he wasn’t focused on rankings, only on getting his team to perform at its best in time for playoffs.

“I know there are a few different lists out there, but I pay very little attention to them, to tell you the truth,” he said. “In my opinion, there’s probably five or six teams that can win provincials.

“I think we’re right there, and if we play well and play together, we have as good a shot as anybody.”

Senior boys

In the senior boys RCMP tournament, WRCA finished fourth overall, after defeating Pacific Academy 81-68 in their final game.

Alex Filipovic was named player of the game.

One game prior to the fourth-place contest, White Rock beat Southridge 63-51, with WRCA’s Shaylen Buis picking up top-player honours.

The senior tournament was won by the Enver Creek Cougars, who edged the pre-tournament favourite Tamanawis Wildcats 55-51.

Enver Creek’s Marc Mincielli was named player of the game in the championship tilt.

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