The Pitt Meadows Marauders won two and lost two in the first-ever 4A provincial championship, which was held from Wednesday to Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.
Pitt lost to Vancouver College 74-68 to open the tournament, then on Thursday morning lost 55-50 to Cowichan. The latter team would go on to win the bronze medal.
Friday they beat the Prince George Polars by a score of 84-53. Graham Smith led the offence with 19 points and had 14 rebounds.
Jordan Murley made the best of only 14 minutes of playing time and put up 18 points, on eight of 10 shooting. Hakeem Wewala scored 10.
On Saturday, the Marauders beat Queen Charlotte, the small school that moved up to the top division and became the talk of the tournament this year. The Marauders won 92-77. Smith had 30 points, 24 boards and eight assists, and Wewala had 15 and nine rebounds. Doug Cruz scored 11 points with eight rebounds, Zach Villaneuva had 11 points, and Murley scored 10.
The Queen Charlotte team was awarded the Most Inspirational Team of the tournament.
In the first-ever quadruple A championship, the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs beat the Holy Cross Crusaders 67-64. Churchill’s tough post player Mindy Minhas, who the Pitt team has been very familiar with over the past two seasons, was the player of the game for the final, and the tournament MVP.
Pitt last won the championship in 2000, and coach Rich Goulet also brought them to the final in 2004.
Goulet’s other championship came against the Maple Ridge Ramblers, as the two local teams met in the triple A final in 1989. Just one point separated the two, the final score being 58-57.
Goulet should be able to take a strong run at another provincial championship next year, as he returns four key players. Centre Smith is one of the best scorers in the province, and a Team B.C. player. Also returning are slick guards Villaneuva and Mark Ashamalla, and Murley could also be a big contributor.
Ramblers go 3-1
In the triple A tournament, the Maple Ridge Ramblers won three out of four games, and Ethan Coumont was named to the second all-star team, as he scored 81 points over the four games.
“The quality of play and competitiveness of this new population based tier was extremely high and will only continue to improve as more teams realize the new opportunities that have become available,” said coach Ken Dockendorf, who helped to develop the new alignment.
“After an eight-year absence from the BCs, the Ramblers now have their program back as a competitive program with a bright future, with eight returning players from this year’s team and the promising development of the grade 8 and junior teams.”
The Ramblers lost their opener 45-39 to Mark Isfeld of Courtenay, the top team on Vancouver Island. Isfeld was a solid team, that would go on to lose in the bronze medal game.
But on Thursday the Ramblers started a win streak, as they beat LV Rogers of Nelson 52-35.
Next they downed Surrey’s Fleetwood Park 62-53 in a Friday nooner. They got contributions from everyone. Ethan Coumont led the offence with 18 points with seven rebounds, Isaac Halas scored 13 and Jackson Murdoch scored 11. Ravjot Rakhra led the rebounding with 10, while chipping in nine points.
Saturday they finished the tournament by beating the North Peace Oscars 71-55.
Coumont put up across-the-board stats: 25 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Halas had 14 points and sox boards, while Rakhra had 12 points and nine rebounds.
After the opening round loss, the best the Ramblers could do was finish ninth – Wednesday winners finish in the top eight, and losers in the bottom eight. Maple Ridge finished ninth.
The Ramblers’ last provincial championship was in 1986, and Dockendorf was also the bench boss then. They last made it to the final in 1997.
The coach was pleased with the way his team performed this post-season, with 10 of 13 playoff wins.
“The main factor that allowed the Ramblers to become more successful as their play-off run advanced was the outstanding team effort at the defensive end, allowing only 46 points per game,” he said. “The rebounding of Jackson Murdoch and Ravjot Rakhra, the ball pressure from Isaac Halas and Owen Stewart were keys to success.”
Titans earn a victory
The SRT Titans made school history with their first-ever appearance in the B.C. championships, and on the last day of the tournament they got their first win, 51-50 over LV Rogers.
Trevor White led the scoring with 15 points, Cole Lamont had 14 and four steals. Brad Rowbotham led the rebounding with 12, and Mitch McDole had 10 boards to go with eight points.
The Titans were also named the most sportsmanlike team of the tournament.
Friday morning they lost 71-63 to the McNair Marlins of Richmond. Lamont had 23 points and 10 rebounds in that game, while Matt Van Dregt scored 15.
The Titans lost their opener on Wednesday 64-40 to eventual B.C. Champions St. Thomas More of Burnaby, then lost to Nanaimo 61-44 on Thursday.
In the triple A tournament championship, the STM Knights beat Charles Hays 53-38, while Abbotsford beat Mark Isfeld 71-51 in the bronze medal game. Knight Reece Morrris was named the tournament MVP.