The Pitt Meadows Marauders senior boys basketball squad will be playing for a Fraser Valley 3A Zone championship.
They will be taking on the G.W. Graham Grizzlies of Chilliwack on Friday night at 8 p.m., at Clayton Heights secondary in Surrey. It promises to be a close match, with the Grizzlies ranked seventh in the province as of Wednesday, and the Marauders ranked eighth. They have met twice before, with the Grizzlies winning 83-57 early in the season, and again on Feb. 5 by a score of 76-50 in league play.
Both teams have already punched their tickets to the provincial championships, and with high seedings based on their placement at the Valley tournament.
The Marauders had a big 81-79 win over the Rick Hansen Hurricanes on Wednesay night to get into the final game.
It was the third match-up between the two teams this year. The Marauders beat the Abbotsford squad early in the year at the Big Ticket Tournament. More recently, Hansen took a tightly contested league game.
“This game was back and forth the whole way,” said Pitt coach Brody Herman. “Each team had a lot of balance in their scoring, with multiple players making shots down the stretch.
“Foul trouble was a major concern for us, but we had some Grade 11’s step up with some major minutes. Jackson Juriga and Evan Bawa came off the bench and made some clutch shots and defensive stops in the late third quarter and early fourth.
Iman Ostovari led the scoring with 25 points, Ben Pollard had 13, Cole Leon and Brendan Pardy each had 12 and Ryan Tougas scored 11 as Pitt showed off its numerous weapons.
“This was one of the best team wins we’ve had all year, both in terms of our balanced scoring, but also with guys battling on the defensive end of the floor,” said Herman.
“Late in the third quarter we played a stretch with five Grade 11s on the floor, which is such a fantastic experience for them. I’m really proud of how everyone played and contributed to this win.”
Their second game was against the host Clayton Heights squad that had gone a perfect 8-0 in the Fraser Valley West, and Pitt won handily 75-50.
Ostovari again led the scoring with 30 points, while Leon scored 15.
Pitt carried a 37-28 lead into the half time break.
“It was tough to gain any separation. Coming out of the half our energy and intensity was the separator,” said Herman. “We outscored them 24-7 in the third quarter, creating some breathing room.
“Coming into the game we knew we were in for a battle. We played them earlier in the season at GP Vanier’s tournament, in Courtenay, and lost by two.”
Their first win of the tournament was a 78-59 win over L.A. Matheson last Thursday, and three straight victories put them in the championship game.
The three other Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District teams will not be among the five Valley teams moving on to the provincials.
The Thomas Haney Thunder had a strong tournament, winning two games and then losing two, eventually being eliminated Wednesday night in a 93-81 loss to the Robert Bateman Timberwolves of Abbotsford.
They opened the tournament with a big 95-58 win over Frank Hurt, but then ran into the North Delta Huskies in their second game, and lost 76-68. Their second win was a 73-62 victory over L.A. Matheson Mustangs of Surrey.
The Westview Wildcats were eliminated from the tournament after two straight losses, 69-55 against the tough Huskies, and then 62-47 to the Frank Hurt of Surrey.
The Maple Ridge Ramblers faced the host Clayton Heights in the first game, falling 69-44, and then lost 67-52 to L.A. Matheson.
The 2019 B.C. High School Boys Basketball Tournament will be held from March 6-9 at the Langley Events Centre.