The Pitt Meadows Marauders Air Force couldn’t miss Tuesday night as they downed the Dr. Charles Best Blue Devils 92-41 in the opening round of the AAA Fraser Valley North league playoffs.
The Marauders drained 12 three-pointers en route to their second 50-point win over the Blue Devils this season.
However, the game looked far from a blow out in the early going as the Marauders struggled with Blue Devils senior guard Malik Garraway for much of the first half, allowing him 16 points.
Pitt managed to build a double-digit lead by the end of the second quarter and a string of late baskets put them ahead 42-29 at the half.
In the second half, however, the Marauders could do no wrong, evidenced by the normally vociferous Pitt coach’s near silence. The Marauders outscored the Blue Devils 50-12, advancing to the next round of the AAA Fraser Valley North playoffs.
“We didn’t seem to have anyone who could handle [Garraway] in the first half,” said Pitt coach Rich Goulet. “But he disappeared from the game altogether in the second half.”
Pitt’s success in the second half started with their suffocating defence, as they denied the Blue Devils a basket for much of the third quarter. With the ball, the Marauders were quick in transition, and their shots rarely missed.
Goulet credited the play of guard Matt Blackaby for helping to neutralize the Blue Devils’ offence in the second half.
“I told them at the half that they had to shut the door, that we were making it too easy,” Goulet said. “I guess they got the message.”
Goulet put his second-stringers in the game for the much of the final quarter, but the Marauders continued to rack up points.
“I thought we ran our offence very well,” Goulet said. “Our shooting was very good, and even with our bench in, there wasn’t a drop-off at all.”
Trevor Severinski led the Pitt offence with 31 points, while Blackaby finished with 27.
The Marauders were to have faced the Centennial secondary Centaurs at home Thursday night. A win in that game will put Pitt through to the league final at Pitt Meadows secondary Friday night.
The Marauders beat Centennial 79-65 in their previous meeting this season.
“They are a tough team, and that was one of our toughest games of the regular season,” Goulet said. “You have to be ready for anything. In High school basketball, things can change on a dime.”
Key to the Marauders continued success will be their high-pressure defence.
“We’re not easy to play against,” said Goulet. “We want to be peoples’ worst nightmares.”