For the fourth straight year, the Pitt Meadows Marauders have won their host Air Show Tournament.
The Marauders played a great passing game in the championship, recording 29 assists on the way to an 83-69 win over a talented Churchill secondary team from Vancouver.
Sebastien Marshall, the tournament MVP, had 34 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the final. All-star Jordan Rich also had a sweet stat line, with 23 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks and seven assists.
Pitt coach Rich Goulet was most impressed with how Rich stepped up his defensive play to shut down Jesse Mushiana, a U-17 Team B.C. player. The two had been teammates on the U-15 provincial team.
“Rich gave him a hard time,” said Goulet. “He played tougher than I’ve ever seen him play.”
Goulet said if the six-foot-eight Rich can bring that defensive intensity to an offensive game that makes him a consistent 20-point producer, the Marauders will be much tougher to beat.
Sho Nashimoto continued to show that he could run the Marauder team at point guard, hauling in Pitt’s third all-star selection.
Churchill standouts Mindy Minhas and Mushiana were also selected to the tournament all-star team.
In earlier tournament games, Pitt defeated Mt. Boucherie 80-59, led by Rich with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Marshall and Alejandro Canjura scored 14 apiece.
It was a romp over Cowichan 85-42. Rich had 22 points, Marshall 13 and Canjura 11.
Cowichan was coming off an 89-88 double overtime win over North Delta, so Goulet was expecting a tough game.
Pitt then subdued a feisty Brentwood College (AA) team 73-68, led by Marshall’s 22 points and 11 boards. Rich had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Canjura had 18 points.
Goulet said his team has been playing tough teams, and it has made them better.
“We’ve been on our game since Christmas,” he said. “I’ve seen marked improvement every week.”
The Marauders played Riverside in league on Tuesday night. It was the team’s third league game, and they have gone 2-0 so far.
The Marauders move on to the Vancouver College Emerald Tournament, in which they will face the eighth-ranked Kelowna Owls on Thursday night. The last time these two met in the Kamloops tournament Pitt Meadows won 62-60, but Kelowna was without its two big men.
The White Rock Christian Knights and Walnut Grove Gators, ranked second and third respectively, will also be on their side of the draw.
“It’s a tough tournament, but that’s exactly what we need right now,” said Goulet.
“That’s the thing that improves us the most – we’re playing tough teams.”