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Collingwood scores second provincial boys AA basketball title

Meanwhile, West Van came 4th in B.C. AAAA after a strong regular season

After a nearly eight-year drought, Collingwood School's senior boys basketball team has repeated the magic of its first-ever provincial win in 2016.

On Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, the Collingwood Cavaliers took the provincial AA banner, in a post season that hearkened back to their first championship win. The resemblance includes an explosive celebration from coach Andy Wong, who had been pushing ever since for a second title.

In both playoffs, Collingwood started the best-in-B.C. tournament with jitters. This year, the third-seed team eked out a win over the 14th-seed Khalsa School Lions 77-69 after scoring eight of the final nine points in the game.

You’d think it would be an easy win, but Collingwood hadn’t played in nine days, explained Wong.

“No excuses, but it’s one of those things where every team is good, and you have to grind out wins,” he said.

Throughout the championship, Collingwood had to battle, with games coming down to single-digit wins in three of their four match-ups. But they always came through in the clinch, as was the case Saturday evening with their 71-64 win over Mill Bay’s Brentwood College for the provincial crown.

The Cavaliers went into halftime with a three-point lead. Again recalling 2016, Wong reached deep into the playbook to surprise the opposition. At times, that involved what he calls a “diamond and one” zone defence, where Collingwood’s James Holm would shut down the other team's best player and the other Cavaliers would block passing lanes.

At the end of the tournament Holm was named tournament MVP, mostly for his defensive play. He had eight points, eight rebounds and two steals in the final. Wong said Holm is “one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached.”

Championship Player of the Game honours went to guard Finnegan Murphy, who drained five of eight three-point attempts, with 20 points overall. With 22 points, Cy Bosa was named Second Team All-Star along with Amir Mojarradi, who blocked four shots.

Something special about this year’s team was the amount of depth on the roster, Wong said.

“Different players stepped up at different times,” he said. “I think that helped pay off towards the end, because our players may be a little bit more well rested [and] we didn’t have a lot of injuries.”

West Van falls short after standout regular season

After riding near the top of the B.C. rankings for this year’s basketball season, the West Vancouver Highlanders senior AAAA team looked poised to carry that momentum into the provincial playoffs.

The Highlanders showed well in tournament play over the course of the season, winning both the Quinn Keast No Regrets Tournament and the Terry Fox Legal Beagle Tournament, where they overtook the No. 1-ranked Oak Bay High Bays. They then went on to win the Sea to Sky AAAA zone championship tournament. 

But their provincial championship hopes met a roadblock in their semi-final match against the Spectrum Thunder on Friday, losing 59-52, by just seven points. Spectrum would go on to win the provincial title. In the bronze game on Saturday, West Van fell to Oak Bay 85-53.

West Van's Calvin Kuzyk was named Second Team All-Star, and Zeyad Ahmad was chosen as the Braich Foundation Most Inspirational Player.