The Maple Ridge Ramblers followed up two of their worst games of the basketball season with one of their best, defeating the MEI Eagles of Abbotsford on Friday to advance to the Fraser Valley championships.
The Ramblers, who finished fourth in league play, defeated MEI, which finished third, 73-70 in the regional senior boys’ AAA playoffs at Rick Hansen secondary.
Ridge led 24-23 after the first quarter, but trailed 38-36 at the half and 57-53 after three.
The Rams, however, outscored the Eagles 20-13 in the fourth, becoming the only local team in the league to advance.
“That was our best game of the year,” Ramblers head coach Ken Dockendorf said.
Burke Brussow, Grade 11, led Ridge with 27 points, including 10 in the final quarter.
Tristan Coumont had 22 points, including seven in the fourth.
Will Chartrand, a senior forward, had 19 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
George Panagiotopavlos, a senior point guard, returned after missing a week with vertigo symptoms and played 39 minutes.
“He made a miracle recovery,” Dockendorf said of Panagiotopavlos.
“He’s a glue kind of guy.”
The Ramblers open the regionals on Wednesday, falling 66-58 to Brookswood of Langley.
Ridge trailed 32-13 at the half and never recovered.
“It was our worst half of basketball all year,” Dockendorf said. “We were just horrible.”
Count had 28 points and nine recoveries, while Brussow added 21 points.
Ridge next played the Thomas Haney Thunder, who defaulted their opening playoff game against Guildford Park due to a lack of players.
MRSS led THSS 35-32 at that half and 46-45 after the third quarter, then went on a 37-16 run to win 83-61.
Dockendorf was not pleased with his team’s effort before the fourth.
“We couldn’t do anything,” he said.
Coumont led with 32 points.
Brush had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Chartrand recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 recoveries.
Pascale Chassay, a Grade 10 guard, added eight points, as did Brandon McRobert, another Grade 10 player.
The Ramblers open the Fraser Valley championships on Wednesday against Abbotsford secondary, at Guildford Park.
“It’s a good match-up for us,” said Dockendorf, as Abby finished below Ridge in league play.
Four of eight teams at the valleys will advance to the provincials.
Ridge must wins its first two games to advance.
“It’s a real grind,” Dockendorf added.
In other senior boys’ AAA action, the Pitt Meadows Marauders were eliminated from the regionals after losing 64-55 Friday to South Ridge.
In junior boys, Pitt Meadows fell at the provincials to Charles Tupper, 65-42 in Langley on the weekend.