Five Surrey schools will be represented among the 64 teams competing for B.C. high school boys basketball championships this week at the Langley Events Centre (LEC).
Three teams – the Holy Cross Crusaders, Semiahmoo Totems and Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers – will compete in the highest category and play for the 4A championship.
Championships in the 3A, 2A and 1A categories will also be decided at the LEC, with each of the four categories featuring 16 teams vying for a provincial championship.
The Holy Cross Crusaders have earned the highest seeding of any Surrey school, seeded fifth in the 4A tournament. They will tip-off at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday against the Belmont Bulldogs, the runner-up team in the Vancouver Island zone.
Holy Cross placed second at the Fraser Valley zone tournament, falling 91-70 to the province’s top-ranked team, the Walnut Grove Gators. The Crusaders will be led by Fraser Valley all-stars Uyi Ologhola (first team) and Marcus Browne (second team).
The Semiahmoo Totems, the fourth-place team at the Fraser Valleys, are seeded ninth and have drawn the eight-seed Kitsilano Blue Demons for their first-round game at 6:45 p.m.
“Both Kits and us stumbled at our zone playoffs a bit. But we made our bed, so now we have to lie in it,” said Totems head coach Ed Lefurgy. “We have to beat Kits, and if we do that, then we get Walnut Grove in the next round, and they’re the number-one team in the province… it’s probably the toughest (draw) of any team.”
The Totems, which won the Surrey RCMP Classic tournament in January, placed Vlad Mihalia on the first all-star team at the Fraser Valley tournament as well as the RCMP Classic.
Lefurgy said his team, like others competing this week at the LEC, should be striving to take make the most of playing in a provincial championship tournament.
“Everybody knows the gravity of the situation, and knows this is crunch time,” he said. “Hopefully some of our guys get a little Grade 12-itis and realize this is their last shot, and maybe some of our Grade 11s realize it’s not a guarantee to get here every year, and they play well.”
The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers hope to follow the example of the school’s senior girls squad, which won the school’s first-ever provincial 3A championship last week.
The Panthers are seeded 10th after a fifth-place finish at the Fraser Valley tournament and will play the seventh-ranked St. George’s Saints in a first round game at noon Wednesday.
The Pacific Academy Breakers will play in the 2A tournament, where they are seeded sixth and will play the St. Patrick Celtics in the opening round.
The Breakers finished second at their Fraser Valley tournament, and placed Josh Blas (first team) and Athan Adkins (second team) on the all-star team.
Just two years after forming a senior boys team, the Khalsa Lions are at their first-ever provincial championship and will compete in the 1A tournament.
Seeded ninth, they will be up against the eight-seed Duncan Christian Eagles at 6:45 p.m.