The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors avenged a loss in last year's final by taming the Tamanawis Wildcats 89-70 in the championship game of the 22nd annual RCMP Basketball Classic Saturday night at Enver Creek Secondary.
With the win, the Warriors collected their 11th RCMP championship banner, their first since 2010. Last year, Tamanawis topped the Warriors 68-66.
Warriors coach Dale Shury said that loss and an earlier setback at the hands of the Wildcats was in the back of his players' minds Saturday.
"The RCMP tournament is the unofficial Surrey championship so it's always nice to hold that title," he said. "It was a big win for us to beat Tamanawis because they beat us earlier this season in league play in our own gym so we needed a little bit of retribution.
It was a big win for our guys and they were pretty excited. It was our second tournament win in as many weekends (after winning Coquitlam's Legal Beagle Jan. 12) so we've been playing some great basketball in January."
Ranked second in B.C. among class AAA teams, the Warriors had little trouble advancing to the final. White Rock dispatched Fraser Heights 78-54 in their opener and followed that up with an 80-53 decision over Southridge. The Warriors then clinched a berth in Saturday's showcase final by knocking off 10thranked Enver Creek 7050 in Friday's semifinal round.
On the other side of the draw, the fifth-ranked Wildcats were equally impressive beginning with a 91-43 win over Sullivan Heights.
Tamanawis eliminated Elgin Park 84-58 in their next outing before topping Lord Tweedsmuir 74-59 in the semifinals.
Saturday's championship rematch did not start the way White Rock Christian wanted, but by the second quarter the Warriors were able to slow the game down with a strong presence under the rim that impeded the Wildcats' craving for a run-and-gun game.
"The thing with Tamanawis is any one of the guys they put on the floor is capable of hitting the three (point shot) and we did not want to get into a three-point competition with them," Shury said.
"As much as we preached that, early on we got caught up in that and at the end of the first quarter, the score was 22-21 and the play was just back and forth three-point shooting. Early on their big guy (Sukhman Sandhu) got several blocks and we were concerned our guys would start shying away. We kept stressing to our guys the need to take the ball inside on them and in the second quarter, we finally managed to break through and pound the ball inside.
Down the stretch, most of our buckets were from in the paint."
Wildcats coach Mike McKay agreed that by dominating the boards offensively, the Warriors kept his team off balance for much of the evening.
"They crashed the paint with five guys every single time and we didn't box out and we couldn't get out and run," McKay said. "I think they had something like 32 offensive rebounds and that just killed our chances. Tyus (Allen) was driving and getting whatever he wanted and when we finally adjusted to him in the second half, they kicked it out the shooters and Vartan (Tanielian) and Matt Perrin hit a bunch of threes"
Allen led all scorers in the game with 32 points and was named tournament MVP while Tanielian helped out the cause with 23.
Sukjhot Bains led the response for Tamanawis with 26 points including 17 in the first half.
In the RCMP junior boys final, Semiahmoo outlasted Tamanawis 49-48 thanks to an MVP performance by Curtis Harvey.
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