Province's top Grade 8 teams meet in Pitt Meadows

Amelia Hayes (15) led the Pitt Meadows Marauders in scoring during their provincial tournament opener.  - Colleen Flanagan
Amelia Hayes (15) led the Pitt Meadows Marauders in scoring during their provincial tournament opener.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan

Fans with green-painted faces and arms banged on drums in the packed stands, setting the pace for the Marauders as they started their march for a Grade 8 basketball provincial championship on Thursday morning at Pitt Meadows Secondary.

Pitt is hosting the 14th annual provincial championships for both boys and girls. It’s an event that was first organized by the school’s resident hoops guru Rich Goulet. At that time there was no official championship, because the philosophy of BC School Sports emphasizes participation over competition at the lower levels.

But the kids love it, and the coaches love it, said Goulet simply.

That was certainly the sentiment of the Pitt boys coach John Rocca, even as he walked off the floor after a 44-25 humbling at the hands of St. George’s.

“It’s a great experience, to show kids that this is what it’s all about – the atmosphere, and what’s required to get here (to the B.C. Tournament).

His team was without standout Ryan Severinski, who is injured with a stress fracture in his knee, so expectations were somewhat tempered.

Christian Marquez led the Pitt scoring with 12 points.

“He’s a talented player,” said Rocca, adding that he also appreciated the efforts of Lautaro Ferreyo Araya in the tournament opener.

“He’s just a competitor – he competes hard all the time, and he’s a great leader.”

Despite a few misfires on offence, his team came to play.

“The kids really competed hard – that’s what I like about this group.”

They will play their second game this morning (Friday) at the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre, at 10:30 a.m.

Burnaby South has a big, talented team that is one of the favourites to win it all, but they will face a tough challenge from the likes of Abbotsford’s W.A. Fraser, who were the Fraser Valley champions.

On the girls side, the Pitt girls lost to York House 53-16 to open the tournament. Amelia Hayes led the locals in scoring with six points.

A third local team in the tournament, the Maple Ridge Ramblers girls, opened with an agonizingly close 28-27 win over Argyle. That immediately moves them into the top eight of the 16-team tournament.

The leading scorers for the Ridge girls were Taylor De Adder with 11 and Kirsten Senchyna with eight points.

Ridge is coached by iconic forrmer senior girls coach Don Herman, and was scheduled to play again last night (Thursday) against the York House squad that dispatched Pitt.

The B.C championship games are slated for Saturday afternoon, with the girls final at 2:30 p.m. and the boys at 4:15 p.m.

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