Marauders meet Bulldogs in Air Show final

Graham Smith of the Marauder Air Force averaged 29 points and was always well into double digit rebounds as he won the tournament MVP award. - Colleen Flanagan
Graham Smith of the Marauder Air Force averaged 29 points and was always well into double digit rebounds as he won the tournament MVP award.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan

The rivalry between the Pitt Meadows Marauders and the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs grew a little more fierce on Saturday night, when the Bulldogs beat hometown Pitt in the final game of the Air Show Tournament, by a lopsided score of 91-65.

The familiar foes also met in last year’s tourney final, in which Pitt took the title for the fourth year in a row.

Then, they locked horns in two more big games at the provincial tournament, where the Bulldogs had the best of it.

With both teams ranked in the middle of the provincial top 10 standings for most of the season, the meeting in the tourney final was predictable.

Pitt point guard Elijah Lapurga turned his ankle in the semi-final, wasn’t available for the tourney final, and he was missed.

Churchill led the championship game 39-29 at half time. Pitt’s Zach Villanueva drained a three-pointer on their first possession of the half to cut the lead to a more respectable seven, but Pitt struggled against Churchill’s full-court press, turned the ball over three times early in the half, and the Bulldogs extended their lead to 59-41.

Churchill did everything well – played tough defence, got offensive rebounds and shot some long threes of their own.

Pitt was not completely outclassed, despite the score. They showed some polished passing, but didn’t finish on offence with enough consistency to stick with the ‘Dogs.

Guard Villanueva was the player of the game for Pitt, and his three third-quarter treys gave him 11 points on the game.

“Zac did a wonderful job,” said Marauders head coach Goulet.

Grade 11 post Graham Smith scored 29 – part of his remarkable consistency throughout the tournament. He was selected the tournament’s MVP, and the big forward’s points/rebounds totals for the first three games was 27-20, 30-14 and 30-12.

“Graham has been awesome. He’s a horse,” said Goulet.

“We fought hard, we were maybe just a bit tired,” said Smith after the game. “And they have six or seven guys who are good players.”

“We missed Elijah. He’s our floor general.”

The Marauders got there by beating Windermere 87-58 on Thursday night, and then Mt. Boucherie 71-67 in a noon Friday game in front of the school.

Goulet was surprised at the level of school support he saw this year.

“The place was packed, and the enthusiasm, the cheering, the applause… we do this every year, and this might have been one of the best years,” he said.

The Kelowna team has a standout in Quincy Johnson, who put up 29 points, and their guards were knocking down outside shots.

“They made it extremely close,” said Goulet.

Friday night they punched their ticket to the tournament championship by beating Heritage Woods 70-59.

Pitt trailed the game 35-33 at half-time, and Goulet said the Port Moody team plays “buzz saw” defence that is some of the most physical they have seen all year.

“In the second half we played really tough – we didn’t give up the ball, we got some offensive rebound sand we were in better position defensively.”

Pitt’s Hakeem Wewala was named to the tournament all-star team, which also included Churchill brothers Mindy and Gary Minhas and Izaiah Ugoalah.

Pitt will be at the Emerald Tourney at Vancouver College this weekend.

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