The Maple Ridge Ramblers won three out of four games in their first week of high school basketball action since before Christmas.
On Thursday, Jan 3 Ridge travelled to Riverside and won 65-55 in an exhibition game. The game was tied at the end of the third quarter, then the visitors went on an 18-7 run to gain the victory.
The Ramblers were led by seniors Pavel Niemirski with 31 and Amit Rakhra with 25 points.
The next day Ridge hosted Charles Best in an exhibition game and won 51-46.
In early December the Ramblers had lost to Best by 24 points, so coach Ken Dockendorf was viewing the game as an important measure as to how the team was improving.
Down 29-23 at the half, the Ramblers were led by a very strong second-half team defensive effort to hold Charles Best to 17 points in the second half.
Rapidly improving Grade 10 forwards Ethan Coumont and Isaac Halas have become major contributors in all aspects of the game, said Dockendorf. Coumont had a double double in recording 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Halas had eight points and five rebounds. Senior Pavel Niemirski contributed 20 points, and both Amit Rakhra and Ravjot Rakhra were outstanding at the defensive end.
The third game of the week was against a very talented team, played Saturday against Gleneagle from Coquitlam.
The Ramblers played a strong first half, and were down only 31-28.
However the third quarter belonged to the more talented and deeper Talons, as they wore down Ridge, outscoring them 25-11 to win the game 78-51. Niemirski led Ridge with 25 points and eight rebounds.
The Pitt Meadows Marauders lost a close exhibition game 57-52 against a giant W.J. Mouat team on Thursday, and then beat Saint Thomas Aquinas 91-55 in a contest that was more layup drill than game on Friday.
Both were exhibition games.
“We were in that game all the way,” said a pleased coach Rich Goulet of the Mouat matchup, where his team had a chance to beat a team that merits and honourable mention in the provincial rankings.
“Mouat is huge and they’re talented, but they did turn the ball over,” said Goulet.
The Abbotsford team’s lineup boasts six-foot-eleven centre Sebastian Muermann, and six-foot-nine power forward Tristan Etienne – a prospect who is ranked nationally in his age group at number four in the class of 2014 by Hoopstarscanada.com.
But Pitt’s five-foot-four Grade 11 point guard Elijah Lapurga came up big. He came off the bench to score 17 points, most coming from five treys. Sebastien Marshall also had 13 points for the Marauaders.
The next night the Marauders beat STA as everyone got on the scoresheet. Marshall had 22 points and 11 rebounds, six-foot-eight centre Jordan Rich had 20 points, 14 rebounds and Alejandro Canjura had 10 points.