After a thrilling run through the first four days of the B.C. High School Senior Boys AAA Basketball Championships, midnight finally tolled for the Cinderella White Rock Christian Academy Warriors Friday.
The Warriors staged a courageous rally before falling 73-64 to Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox Ravens in the semifinal round of the hoops showcase at the Langley Events Centre.
Thanks to a play-in match for the final eight seeds on Tuesday, the Warriors were the only team to play five meaningful games last week and, along with eventual champion Terry Fox, were one of two schools to post four wins. Fox won gold while the Warriors earned bronze medals as mementos of a memorable week of basketball.
"Overall it was a good result for us," said Warriors coach Dale Shury. "We came in seeded 14th out of 20 teams in the tournament, so we finished third and we're happy with that. In Friday's semifinal game we fought back and were within one possession of the lead late in the game so we even had a chance of making it to the final. That would have made the week even sweeter.
"As I told the boys Saturday, winning the bronze medal feels a lot better than getting a silver medal. We finished the season with a win and that always feels good."
Led by forwards Jake Newman (a first team all-star) and Kristophe Baerg (a third team selection), the Warriors staged a series of gutsy performances before their charge ended late in the fourth quarter of the semifinals. After reaching the main draw with a solid 79-60 win over Mount Baker in Tuesday's qualifying round, the Warriors posted the biggest upset Wednesday's opening round by ousting Lower Mainland champion St. George's. Newman and guard Tyus Allen led the Warriors with 19 points each.
The win over St. George's set up a rematch of the 2012 Surrey RCMP Classic tourney with the Warriors squaring off against the Tamanawis Wildcats in Thursday's quarterfinal round.
White Rock led 43-37 at the break and 58-51 after three quarters before pulling away with an 11-0 run early in the final frame en route to a 75-65 win.
"When you're not hitting the shots from the outside, it doesn't help to keep trying to force it," said Tamanawis coach Surinder Grewal. "Maybe I should have called a time out quicker but we needed to refocus and try to pound the ball in down low a bit more. I felt we settled for the outside shots too much - and it wouldn't be a topic of conversation if we were making them - but you need to find a way to adjust when things aren't working. If the outside shots aren't working, then find another way to score and we didn't."
Newman paced the White Rock attack with 26 points, a total matched by Tamanawis guard Manny Dulay.
White Rock's streak of success came to an end in Friday's semifinal round against the Ravens. Terry Fox got off to a fast start and at one point led by 20 before the Warriors began to battle back. White Rock narrowed the gap to within three in the fourth quarter before the Ravens pulled away with free throws when the Warriors were forced to commit fouls in the dying seconds.
Newman was once again the top gun for White Rock with 21 points, four more than Baerg.
White Rock closed out the week with a 9695 win over Vancouver College in Saturday's bronze medal match. Newman finished with 32 points in the game while Allen added 18.
Elsewhere, after falling to rival White Rock in the quarter-finals, Tamanawis dropped a 65-38 decision to Pitt Meadows Friday before bouncing back to beat W.J. Mouat 66-60 in the game to determine 10th place.
Dulay was awarded a Telus scholarship in the post-tourney awards while the Wildcats were honoured as the event's most sportsmanlike team.
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