The Pitt Meadows Marauders Air Force clinched the AAA Fraser Valley North division title in dramatic fashion Friday night, as they topped the rival Terry Fox Ravens 71-68 in overtime. With the win, Pitt finishes league play with a perfect 10-0 record, and will play at home this week during the Fraser Valley finals.
The senior boys’ basketball team faced a raucous crowd in Port Coquitlam as the No. 2-ranked Marauders faced down the province’s No. 5-ranked AAA team in the Ravens, Friday night. Both teams were a perfect 9-0 in league play heading into the game, with the winner to claim the league title.
The Ravens jumped on the Marauders early. After Pitt was able to get their bearings late in the first quarter, they found themselves down by just a point to start the second, 15-14. The Ravens stretched their lead to nine by the end of the half, as their aggressive offence caught the Pitt Meadows defence napping.
“They really drove to the basket unbelievably hard,” said Pitt Meadows coach Rich Goulet. “
Down 34-25 to start the second half, the Marauders charged back to outscore the Ravens 27-10 in the third quarter to take the lead. The Ravens clawed their way back in the final quarter, tying up the game 63-63 in the final minutes to send the game to overtime. The two teams battled back and forth for much of the extra frame. Pitt Meadows pulled ahead thanks to a full court drive by Mitsu Iwai, and a pair of free throws by Matt Blackaby to give Pitt the three-point win.
Trevor Severinski led the Marauders in scoring with 32 points and 14 rebounds. Matt Blackaby had 17 points, seven assists and five steals, while Iwai had 14 points.
Pitt will host the Fraser Valley North finals this week, however, a berth in the provincial championships is far from guaranteed. In 2003, Pitt took their league title and hosted the Fraser Valleys, only to lose twice at home and failed to advance to the provincial championships.
“Step by step, game by game, we’re getting closer,” said Goulet. “It’s important not to get ahead of ourselves.”
The bedrock of Pitt’s success this season has been the team’s defence, which hasn’t allowed a B.C. opponent to score more than 70 points all season.
However, the team needs to address a recent string shaky starts, he said.
“We’ve been pretty consistent this season, but we need to cinch our defence in earlier,” said Goulet. “We need to be working harder, sooner, so we’re not playing catch-up.”
• The Fraser Valley finals were to have started Tuesday night, with Pitt Meadows taking on Dr. Charles Best secondary (4-6) of Coquitlam. For ongoing coverage, visit www.mapleridgenews.com.