In the end, the depth and height of the Walnut Grove Gators were too much to handle for the Holy Cross Crusaders.
The Gators overwhelmed the Crusaders 91-70 on Sunday night in front of a standing room-only crowd of more than 1,000 fans at the Langley Events Centre.
The two senior boys basketball teams were playing in the championship final of the Fraser Valley 4A tournament.
Walnut Grove was seeded No. 1 while Holy Cross came in at No. 2.
“Holy Cross played a very good game but we withstood the pressure and made some good decisions,” said Gators coach George Bergen, whose team has lost just twice this season and only once against B.C. competition.
“It didn’t surprise me the pressure they put on because they have athletic guys. We had our moments, but overall we took care off the ball.”
Walnut Grove led 22-14 after one quarter and 45-31 at the half. The Crusaders would get the lead down to eight points in the third quarter, but could get no closer.
Crusaders coach Anthony Pezzente said Walnut Grove’s height advantage was just too much to overcome.
“I am proud of our fight but when you are that big like them, you need some shots to go in for us and we didn’t get them and they hit some shots we didn’t think they could hit,” he said.
Holy Cross was also playing without their best guard, Keegan Konn, whom they lost for the year earlier in the season. It meant they played the majority of the game with two Grade 9s and a Grade 10 as well as a couple of Grade 11s.
Jamal Osee-Anim led Holy Cross with 15 points. Teammate Uyi Ologhola was a first-team all-star, and Marcus Browne was a second-team selection.
The Gators and Holy Cross now prepare for next week’s B.C. 4A senior boys provincial championships March 8-11 at the LEC. The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers will also be at the provincial tournament, having placed in the top seven in the Fraser Valley.
The Panthers defeated the Yale Lions 105-91 Sunday evening, and placed Dylan Kinley on the second all-star team.
Just missing the B.C. tournament was the Tamanawis Wildcats. Seeded fourth for the Fraser Valley tournament, the Wildcats lost 78-74 to the 16th-seed Pinetree Timberwolves and placed eighth.
Breakers qualify for 2A provincial tournament
The Pacific Academy Breakers are off to the Senior 2A Boys B.C. championship tournament after placing second at the Fraser Valley tournament in Chilliwack.
The Breakers, seeded second for the 12-team playoff tournament, lost 114-96 to the top-seed G.W. Graham Grizzlies Saturday night. Josh Blas of the Breakers was named a first-team all-star, with Ethan Adkins selected to the second-team.
Pacific Academy, which got past the Abbotsford Knights 86-73 in a semifinal game Thursday night, will play at the provincial tournament March 8-11 at the Langley Events Centre.
Sabres need one more win
The Guildford Park Sabres are a game away from the Senior 3A Boys B.C. championship tournament. The Sabres are hosting the final three days of the Fraser Valley tournament, and need a win tonight (Thursday) at 6 p.m. to advance to the March 1-8 provincial tournament. Guildford Park is eliminated from the tournament with the loss.
Guildford Park lost 81-66 to the Robert Batemen Timberwolves last night in a semifinal game.
Khalsa third at Fraser Valley tournament
Surrey’s Khalsa Lions have qualified for the provincial 1A tournament for the first time, just two years after launching its senior boys basketball program.
The Lions placed third at their Fraser Valley tournament, which concluded in Chilliwack Saturday night.
Khalsa lost their semifinal game Thursday night 80-51 to the B.C. Christian Academy, but then defeated a pair of rivals from Surrey. They topped the Regent Christian Royals 69-56 Friday night and Ecole Gabrielle Roy 74-54 Saturday evening.
Jaskirat Singh Sandhu of Khalsa was named to the all-star team.
– with files from Rick Kupchuk