After back-to-back last-place finishes at the Chilliwack Storm Classic in years past, the Elgin Park Orcas’ senior boys basketball team finally found the podium.
The Orcas, who finished 10th out of 10 teams in both 2009 and ’10, ended up with silver medals this time around, losing 85-81 to Vancouver’s Point Grey Secondary in the championship game Saturday.
“It was very good, and nice to see the team do so well after finishing 10th the last two times,” said Elgin Park coach Dan Walker.
In semifinals, Elgin Park defeated the host team, Chilliwack, 75-53, and a day earlier, beat a pair of Kamloops teams, first Valleyview by a 71-59 score, and then Sahali Secondary 88-82.
And though Walker’s bunch placed second, they nearly pulled off a comeback in the title game after catching Point Grey’s second-string players by surprise.
The Orcas trailed by 30 in the third quarter, and with the game seemingly out of reach, Point Grey did what most teams do in that situation – subbed out its top players to give others some floor time.
But rather than simply run out the clock, Elgin’s players decided to instead run up the score, getting to within four points by the end of it.
“When they brought out the second string, I just told the guys to really push the envelope, and not to give up,” Walker said.
“And they went out there and did it. It was a real character-builder for us, I think.”
The comeback attempt, Walker said, was led by Sam Conti, who hit a handful of three-point shots, Rajiv Dhaliwal and Brett Walker.
Conti and Walker were named to the tourament all-star team.
“It was a really good confidence booster for the team, I think, especially because we haven’t had too many practices together as a full team,” said Walker, who was missing a handful of players at the start of the season due to volleyball commitments.
The Orcas were back in league action this week, with a game Tuesday against South Delta, and this weekend are taking part in the Roundball Classic tournament at Rick Hansen Secondary in Abbotsford.