SRT Titans making first appearance in the senior boys basketball provincials.
The Maple Ridge Ramblers and the Samuel Robertson Technical Titans met in the bronze game at the Fraser Valley tournament for senior boys basketball on Saturday in Abbotsford.
The Ramblers won the game 47-39, as two exhausted local rivals slugged it out. But they were both already winners, having both achieved their larger goal of qualifying for the provincial triple-A tournament.
For the Titans, this will be the first senior boys B.C. final appearance in school history.
“It’s a big, big deal,” said SRT athletics director Lesley McPherson. “The basketball kids are really excited.
“This is what Dock [Ken Dockendorf] had in mind when he proposed this new system. Neighbourhood programs have a chance to compete.”
This year the former triple-A division has been divided into a larger school quadruple-A and triple-A division. It has given SRT-sized schools a chance to compete.
She said SRT has a good combination basketball talent, and athletic kids who know what it takes to win.
“This is a group of really good athletes, and basketball is just another thing they do,” she said.
There are two lacrosse stars in Mitch McDole and Brad Rowbotham. The former is one his way to play NCAA field lacrosse, and the latter has been drafted by the Burnaby Lakers. There are a pair of soccer standouts in Trevor White and Cole Lamont, who both appear designed for university athletics. There are also two kids who are basketball first, in Grade 11s Austin Rebalkin and Matt Van Dregt.
“It’s an awesome mix,” said Coach Scott Tomlin. “They run the whole game, and we press. It’s all about heart.”
In his ninth year with the SRT program, and will finally take a team to the provincials.
They entered the Fraser Valley Tournament as the fifth-seeded team out of their league. Their first game was a 62-46 loss to Sullivan Heights from Surrey.
SRT defeated Surrey’s Guilford Park quite handily 60-49 before taking on top seeds from their own league.
The Titan’s first upset victory came at the expense of Robert Bateman, the second seed in the North League. Bateman couldn’t answer SRT’s pressure defence and up-tempo game, and lost 82-66. Rebalkin was named game MVP for his lights out shooting, and tenacious perimeter defence.
That led to a matchup with the third-seeded Brookswood Bobcats, where SRT roared out to a quick 22-8 lead, and came away with a 51-46 victory and a chance to play for a berth in the B.C’s. Senior post man, Trevor White finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds to collect player of the game honours.
Another tight game brought another victory, 65-62 over Charles Best on Friday night. Best was an honourable mention in the provincial top 10 rankings all year. That win put the Titans final four, and in the provincials.
“We played incredibly well,” said Tomlin. “They win, and they go crazy.”
They will open the provincial against Saint Thomas Moore of Burnaby, the second-ranked team in B.C., on March 12 at 10 a.m.