Churchill game not Pitt’s finest hour

The Pitt Meadows Mauraders won two games and lost two at the provincial tourney. - Miranda Gathercole/Black Press
The Pitt Meadows Mauraders won two games and lost two at the provincial tourney.
— image credit: Miranda Gathercole/Black Press

With two wins and two losses, the Pitt Meadows Marauders wound up finishing 15th at the B.C. Boys Triple A High School Basketball Championship.

On Saturday night, the Walnut Grove Gators beat the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors 59-53 in the provincial championship game. In the bronze game, the St. George’s Saints beat the Kitsilano Blue Demons 85-66.

Saturday afternoon, the Marauders finished the tournament the way they started – with a loss to the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs, by a 68-63 score. The Bulldogs are a tough team, and also beat Pitt 67-64 to open the tournament.

“It’s always great to be at the B.C.s, but we had a tough first draw,” said coach Rich Goulet. “We weren’t really mentally ready to play them, and we just got blown out on the boards.

“But we’ve had a good year.”

On Saturday, Pitt’s six-foot-eight post Jordan Rich led the scoring, with 16 points and eight rebounds. Sanj Toor scored 13, and Grade 10 Graham Smith had 10 points.

Pitt posted wins against the Mount Baker Wild 75-19 and Burnaby Mountain Lions 67-47.

Goulet said injuries during the playoffs hurt Pitt’s rankings coming out of the Fraser Valley Tournament, and gave them a brutal draw for the provincials – if they had managed to beat the Bulldogs, they would have faced the champion Gators in their second game.

The Marauders will return six Grade 11 players who saw significant playing time during this season, and they will be complemented by a group of juniors coming off a provincial silver medal this season. The leader of that group is Smith, who will take over the inside game.

Pitt will have a lot of competition, as teams like the Sardis Falcons return numerous players, and the Terry Fox Ravens played four Grade 10s this year.

“It’s always tough in the Fraser Valley,” said Goulet.

Next year teams will compete in a new quadruple A division, created from the ranks of the 110 schools who presently compete at the triple A level.

There are approximately 250 high school basketball teams in the province, and they will play in four tiers instead of three. That will create more opportunities for teams to qualify for post-season play and a provincial tournament.

Although Pitt’s school population would allow the team to play on the triple A circuit, Goulet has made the commitment to play at the new level for two seasons.

“There may be a day when we have to go triple A,” said Goulet. “It will still be good ball – the top of it will be very good.”

Pitt has been to the provincials in nine of the past 10 seasons, and has one championship

“I’m hoping we can keep it up.”

The Pitt Meadows delegations was impressed with the Langley Events Centre as a new venue for the tournament.

“It’s pretty luxurious – there’s no other facility in the province that matches it,” he said.

He said players and coaches appreciated the change rooms, banquet hall and courts, while parents and fans enjoyed easy access, free parking and reasonably priced concessions.

Goulet said even the attitudes are good: “The LEC people clearly want this event.”

In fact, the Langley Events Centre is making a strong bid to become the location for all high school basketball provincials in B.C. next season.

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