The final push for berths in the 2013 B.C. Senior Boys AAA High School Basketball Championships is now underway following completion of the Fraser Valley zone playoffs last weekend.
Leading the pack is the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors who secured the No. 1 seed for the Fraser Valley tournament with a dominant 68-50 win over cross-town rival Tamanawis Wildcats in the final of the Valley's southwest zone Friday.
The game was a rematch of January's Surrey RCMP final with a similar result although White Rock's win this time was more emphatic. The Warriors held the Wildcats to seven points in the first quarter and nine in the second frame in building a massive 33-16 halftime lead.
Tamanawis closed to within 10 points in the third quarter but White Rock responded by stretching their lead back to 18 points and then cruising to the win.
"For the most part the damage was done early," said White Rock coach Dale Shury. "When you hold a high scoring team like Tamanawis to single-digit quarters back-to-back, it shows how well our defence was playing. That kind of set the tone for the game. We've been preaching for the last little while how tough defensive stops typically turn into points at the other end and that was true in that game. Winning those battles was a big difference in the game."
Vartan Tanielian led the Warriors with 28 points while Tyus Allen and Sam Ykema chipped in with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Even with the loss, Tamanawis heads into the Valley tournament seeded fourth with a solid chance to advance to next month's provincial championship tournament in Langley.
"We've been talking the guys down after the White Rock game and we've had some good practices," Wildcats coach Mike McKay. "Hopefully we can get our confidence back with the game against Matheson (Wednesday) and then we'll have to wait and see who we play. You never know what's going to happen in the Valleys; there's a surprise team every year."
Seventeen teams from Surrey and North Delta made it to the Fraser Valley's version of doomsday on Feb. 20, a day of single game eliminations that pared the field from 32 teams down to a more manageable 16. Results were not available at the Now's press deadline.
With the top seed in the tournament, White Rock knows they carry a target on their backs for every team hoping to score an upset.
Shury said such pressure is nothing new for the Warriors.
"I think we have a bull's-eye on our back all the time; we're used to that now," Shury quipped. "Just based on the nature of the program and our history gets other teams up for our games. The bull's-eye stuff will be more obvious when we get to the main draw at the LEC (Langley Events Centre)."
In the Fraser Valley central zone final, Lord Tweedsmuir surprised Enver Creek 75-63 to earn the seventh seed in the Valley. Enver dropped to ninth in the seedings.
Fleetwood Park (16) is the only other Surrey or North Delta team to crack the top half of the Fraser Valley seedings. The bottom half of the draw includes North Delta (17), North Surrey (18), Fraser Heights (19), Elgin Park (20), Seaquam (22), Panorama Ridge (23), Semiahmoo (26), Johnston Heights (27), Queen Elizabeth (28), L.A. Matheson (29) and Clayton Heights (32).
Round two of the Fraser Valley tourney goes Friday night followed by round three Monday.
For scores and schedules, please visit fvbball.org.