The Elgin Park Orcas senior boys hoops team gave themselves an early Christmas present last week – a first-place trophy at Rick Hansen’s Hurricane Roundball Classic.
Elgin Park won the eight-team tournament Saturday, beating a tough, physical North Surrey squad 51-46.
“It couldn’t have gone much better,” said Orcas’ head coach Dan Walker.
In Elgin’s first game, they beat an overmatched team from Samuel Robinson Technical 91-32, and then edged Rick Hansen 72-62 before facing off against North Surrey in the final.
And beating their North Surrey rivals in the final very nearly didn’t happen – the win required a late-game comeback.
The Orcas trailed for nearly the entire game, only taking the lead with three minutes left on the clock.
“We just stayed with them, and stayed with them – we were never down by more than four, six, eight points… we just kept within striking distance,” Walker said.
“And then we just prevailed at the end.”
It was not easy, Walker said, especially because North Surrey’s style of play clashed with Elgin’s, which is primarily based on speed, skill and shooting.
“They were a very big, very scrappy team,” he said.
“It was really physical – just a tough, defensive struggle… they’re athletic, too, and well-coached. I actually think they were favoured to beat us, so it was good that we were able to pull off the win.”
The difference, Walker said, came in the game’s waning moments, when the Orcas’ cadre of guards were able to drive to the hoop for not just points, but fouls, too.
“Our outside shooting wasn’t great, but we have a couple guys who were slashing to the basket, and we were able to get a number of three-point plays that way.”
Elgin Park senior Tony Tabor was named the Roundball Classic Most Valuable Player, and teammate Brett Walker was named to the to the tournament’s first-team all-star.
The victory was especially sweet for seniors like Tabor, Walker said, because they were part of last year’s team that struggled so mightily.
“Guys like Tony, they were on the team last year that didn’t do very well,” the coach said. “They went in three or four tournaments last year, but never made it to the finals, and this year, they’ve already been to two and won one.
“For those guys, it’s nice. It’s a very gratifying victory, and really gives them some confidence.”
Earlier this month, the Orcas placed second at the Chilliwack Storm Classic.
WRCA loses Maui opener
The White Rock Christian Warriors dropped their first game in Maui’s Lahainluna Invitational tournament Monday, falling 71-41 to Mission Viejo – one of California’s best high school teams.
Mission Viejo jumped out to an early 16-0 lead and were up by 20 after the first quarter, before WRCA found their game and battled back.
“They took it to us early,” WRCA head coach John Dykstra said in an email. “It was an important learning experience.”
Matt Perrin was named WRCA’s player of the game, coming off the bench to score eight consecutive points late in the first quarter.
The Warriors played Tuesday evening against Inglewood, another talented California squad. The tournament wraps up today (Thursday).