In an all-cat fight Saturday night (Jan. 18), Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers scratched their way to a win over Tamanawis Wildcats in the senior division final of the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic.
By a score of 67-64 in a packed gym at Enver Creek Secondary, Cloverdale’s Panthers won a wild one at the all-Surrey high school boys basketball tournament.
It was Tweedsmuir’s first ever senior-division win at the Classic, after earning eight top-five finishes since the tournament began in 1992. Last year, the Panthers lost to Semiahmoo in the tourney final and went on to win it all at the provincials less than two months later.
“We have a lot of leaders on our team, a lot of champions,” Tweedsmuir head coach Raj Bagry said Monday.
“This is a great tournament and one of the biggest around, so it’s a tough one to win, and we finally got there,” he added.
VIDEO: Tweedsmuir celebrates Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic championship after a wild finish, 67-64 over Tamanawis. @BCHoopScoop @SSSAA_SD36 @tamanawisbball @ltsssports @LordTweedsmuir @SurreyRCMP @Surrey_Schools
Story to come. Report from earlier today: https://t.co/iVW9faItRW pic.twitter.com/7LkzPD7d4Y
— Surrey Now-Leader (@SurreyNowLeader) January 19, 2020
Trailing by more than a dozen points with around six minutes to go in Saturday’s championship game, Tamanawis fought back to tie the game at 64 with just 62 seconds left. But the Panthers held on and rallied to score three points in the final minute to earn the win.
“We had it under control but we knew with Tammy they’d have some push-back – with a team that shoots that many threes, they’d always be in the game, and that’s what happened,” Bagry said.
Saturday’s game was streamed live on Tweedmuir’s Youtube channel.
In addition to tournament MVP Jaeden Reid, the Tweedsmuir roster includes fellow Grade 12 players Jackson Corneil, Jason Hans, Josh Hamulus, Sukhraj Hayer and Mercado Legrand, along with Grade 11 players Karn Shergill, Harsh Manan, Cambronero Zandrex, Aaron Sihota, Anwar Danyal, Hayden Dhadda, Atul Shah and Harkaran Boparai.
Injuries and some inexperience hampered Tweedsmuir earlier this season, but they’re getting healthy at the right time.
“We were down four of our starters for the first bit of the year, until the end of December basically,” Bagry said. “Both Josh and Jaeden were missing, and having them out was tough.… We were missing so many pieces but we hung in there and played hard through it.”
In Saturday’s bronze-medal showdown, it was Fleetwood Park 61, Guildford Park 57.
In the junior division championship game Saturday afternoon, Elgin Park beat Fleetwood park 73-67, with Elgin’s Lucas Roling named MVP.
In Thursday’s Pool B championship game, Sullivan Heights beat Earl Marriott by a score of 86-74.
All tournament scores and schedules are posted to surreybasketballclassic.info.
Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards gives his thanks to the organizers, coaches, and students who participated in the 2020 Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic! pic.twitter.com/hU4Zz9Alfk
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) January 19, 2020
Wednesday’s games were cancelled due to the overnight snowstorm, with all games shifted to Thursday (Jan. 16).
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) January 18, 2020
A win for Team RCMP at the coaches vs Surrey RCMP game today at Enver Creek Secondary School! pic.twitter.com/vWyQJxBCrY
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) January 18, 2020
In other tournament news, Fleetwood Park’s Parvin Dhillon was the three-point champion, Elgin Park was named most sportsmanlike team and Elgin’s Thomas Olsen was given the most-inspirational award.
First-team allstar honours were given to Jackson Corneil (Tweedsmuir), Arbin Dhillon (Tamanawis), Tegbir Kainth (Tamanawis), Ravi Randhawa (Fleetwood Park) and Vincent Ubaldo (Guildford Park).
Second-team allstars were Jordan Gidda (Fraser Heights), Josh Hamulus (Tweedsmuir), Harrison Hughes (Southridge), Marcellus Linnen (Frank Hurt) and Hamza Saqib (Semiahmoo).
For 2020, 48 senior and junior teams shot for glory at the Classic, which involves only Surrey high school teams. Close to 700 teen athletes played 87 games this week.
The inaugural tourney in 1992 was co-ordinated by Rick Inrig and RCMP officer Norm Massie. Inrig is still involved as a tournament co-director, along with Kevin De Boice, while Massie has since retired and now lives in Ontario.
From the start, the tournament was designed as a way for police and school students to enjoy positive interaction.
“The goal has been to encourage a healthy attitude towards high school sport and foster positive relations with the RCMP,” Inrig said prior to this year’s tournament. “Many of the tournament’s talented athletes have graduated and gone on to play university and college basketball in Canada and the United States.”