White Rock Christian Warriors win third straight tournament

White Rock Christian Warriors
White Rock Christian Warriors' Peter Spangehl (right) tries to block Tamanawis Wildcats'Sukhraj Biring in the final game of the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic earlier this month. WRCA won the tournament – its second in a row – and followed up with a third last weekend at Vancouver College.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph photo

Trailing by 10 points at halftime against the Walnut Grove Gators Saturday – in the championship game of the Emerald Tournament – Dale Shury was set to give his team a break.

The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors senior boys basketball coach knew his team was running on fumes after playing – and winning –  tournaments on three consecutive weekends, which, combined with league and exhibition tilts, added up to more than a dozen games since Christmas, many against top-ranked AAA competition.

Taking all that into consideration, Shury admitted later that had his squad, ranked No. 2 in B.C., not been able to claw back and defeat the No. 3-ranked Gators, he would’ve understood.

“Physically, mentally, I knew they were just exhausted – the coaches were, too,” he said Monday.

“And it’s not that I ever doubt these guys, but I told them after the game that I would’ve given them a pass if they had lost.”

That pass did not have to be issued, however, as the weary Warriors stormed back after halftime, erased the double-digit deficit in a matter of minutes, and rolled to a 75-70 victory.

The win was the team’s second over Walnut Grove this month – WRCA beat them in overtime to claim the Legal Beagle Tournament championship at the beginning of January. In between triumphs over the Gators, White Rock also won the Surrey RCMP Classic.

At halftime, Shury told his team not to worry about “getting all 10 points back at once,” instead telling them to play steady, and chip away at the Gators’ lead.

“Get five points back in the third quarter, then try and get the rest back in the fourth,” he told them.

Instead, they erased the deficit in three minutes. In the fourth quarter they extended the lead, though never by more than a few points, before holding on to win.

“It was a great comeback victory,” Shury said.

Vartan Tanelian was the high-scorer for the Warriors, finishing with 24 points, while Peter Spangehl had 17 and Tyus Allen had 16. Allen was named tournament MVP   an honour he’s won in each of WRCA’s three tourney championships this month.

En route to the title game, WRCA defeated the defending provincial champion Terry Fox Ravens, and the No. 6-ranked Oak Bay Bays.

Saturday’s victory at the Vancouver College-hosted tournament also ran the Warriors’ win overall streak to 14 games, and cemented their spot as a Top 2 team in provincial rankings.

White Rock Christan returns to Fraser Valley Southwest league action this week, with a game tonight (Thursday) and Friday.

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