Pitt Meadows perfect against Fraser Valley North
The elimination round of the Fraser Valley Tournament begins today, and a field of 32 triple A high school basketball teams will be slashed down to 16 by the end of the night’s action.
Those remaining 16 teams will battle through the rest of this week and next, vying for one of the eight berths into the provincial championship.
The lone local entry is the Pitt Meadows Marauders, who at least are seeded well, thanks to their undefeated season in the Fraser Valley North.
On Saturday night the Marauders capped off a perfect 10-0 regular season by winning their league championship. In their home court, against the Gleneagle Talons, they played stifling defence and led 28-13 at half time, and 46-23 after three quarters.
It was only after six-foot-eight centre Jordan Rich left the game with a painful-looking ankle injury that Gleneagle was able to get any traction. Rich had great hands and hustle through three quarters of the game, but was not able to put any weight on his injured foot as he awkwardly left the floor.
With the big post out of the game, Gleneagle out-scored Pitt 23-13 in the fourth quarter, but still lost 59-46.
“I’m worried we’ve lost our big guy,” said head coach Rich Goulet afterward. “He was dominating inside until that injury.”
“We only played a quarter,” lamented Gleneagle head coach Tony Scott, whose team beat the Terry Fox Ravens for the first time this season to get into the North championship game.
His Talons weren’t sharp in their shooting early, and that put them in a hole.
“We lost our energy and confidence, because you’re not making those shots,” said Scott.
Sebastien Marshall, consistently Pitt’s most dangerous offensive weapon, said the Marauders elevated their play for the North zone playoff tournament. The defence got a lot of stops, and the team fed off that.
“It was a lot of fun. The competition was great, we had to step up our game, and we did.”
Marshall had 23 points in the North championship. Rich scored 20 before turning his ankle.
In the semi-finals they beat Heritage Woods 76-52, as Marshall put up 32 points and Rich 26.
As the only returning Grade 12 starter from last year’s squad, Marshall believes Pitt’s play has to go up another notch for the Fraser Valley Tournament.
“We’ve got to get to the next level – there are so many great teams in the Fraser Valley,” he said.
“We’ve had hard losses and hard wins, and we’ve done it all together. Now, making the provincials is the goal.”
The Fraser Valley tournament features the teams ranked first through fourth in B.C.: Abbotsford’s Yale Lions, the Walnut Grove Gators, the Tamanawis Wildcats of Surrey and the White Rock Christian Warriors.
Added to that are five more teams who rank honourable mention, and the 10th-ranked Marauders, making it easily the toughest tournament outside of the provincials.
The coaches seeded Pitt at sixth in the Fraser Valley, behind the aforementioned ‘big four’ and the W.J. Mouat Hawks.
Pitt will host Johnston Heights of Surrey, ranked 27th, tonight in the elimination round. The game tips off at 8 p.m.
If they win they will play Friday at 6:15 p.m. against the winner of a match between Terry Fox and Seaquam. There will be another round of games on Monday, then the tournament final round will be played out at the Langley Events Centre on Feb. 28 to March 2.
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