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Crowd contends for hoop supremacy
A crowd has formed atop the Fraser Valley North division as B.C. high school basketball winds through the final week of the regular season.
The Gleneagle Talons, Terry Fox Ravens, Pitt Meadows Marauders and Port Moody Blues all sit at 3-1 while the Heritage Woods Kodiaks find themselves one game back at 3-2 on the cusp of the playoffs that begin next week.
“The conference is very tight and tough right now. A loss could put you in a situation you don’t want to be in,” said Talons coach Tony Scott. “It makes it very interesting for this week, every game is that much more valuable.”
The Talons, ranked No. 3 in the province, racked up a pair of convincing wins this week, stopping the Pinetree Timberwolves 76-58 Tuesday following a 81-31 rout over the Centennial Centaurs.
“I don’t think our intensity is where it needs to be right now. We’ve got a few more games to try and figure it out and get ourselves where we’re supposed to be,” said Scott.
The Talons have been coping with the loss of centre Grant Galbraith, who went down with an injury three weeks ago.
“I find that right now too many people are trying to take it upon themselves to take up his slack. All of a sudden instead of playing your game individually we have people trying to do more than they really have to,” said Scott, who hopes to have Galbraith back in time for the playoffs.
Gleneagle wraps up the regular season with games against Heritage Woods Thursday and Port Moody Friday.
“These last games are crucial. If you’re able to get first or second you get that bye and if you’re able to get first you’re able to host,” said Scott.
The playoffs open Tuesday with Pinetree squaring off against Centennial. The winner of that game will take on the No. 3 seed Wednesday, with the fourth and fifth place teams meeting in Wednesday’s other matchup.
The Port Moody Blues threw their name in the mix with a 92-86 upset of the cross-town rival Kodiaks on Saturday.
Heritage Woods jumped out to an early lead but the Blues were able to close the gap before halftime and jump in front in the third quarter.
“We were up 15 in the fourth quarter, then they outscored us 14-4 or something like that down the stretch,” said Blues coach Alex Devlin. “We were hanging on at the end. It was a real up-and-down game, that’s sort of the style they play. They’re small and they’re very active.”
The Kodiaks struck for 11 three-pointers and went 19-for-20 at the foul line but the Blues were lifted by a 49-point effort by Dylan Samuels.
“Our guard Dylan Samuels had an unbelievable game,” said Devlin. “Dylan and our other guard Shaq Noel are quite talented. They’re basically scorers, they’re attack guys.”
The win gives the Blues some confidence as they wind up their season against Terry Fox Thursday and Gleneagle Friday.
“I think they feel they can compete and like you say, we don’t see anything that says one team is dominant, at least in our league. I think Gleneagle has the best chance to be dominant but the big guy [Galbraith] has been injured,” said Devlin. “You look around the province and there doesn’t look to be any runaway for No. 1.”
Terry Fox kept pace with a 70-60 win over Heritage Woods on Tuesday
“On our home court, I just didn’t think we came out with the intensity Heritage did. They got out to an early lead and led for the entire first half,” said Ravens coach Steve Hanson.
The Ravens managed to cut into a 10-point Kodiak lead to go into the half trailing 37-32 before rallying in the third quarter.
“I thought we buckled down defensively and played smarter. Not a lot of Xs and Os, just a lot of heart and hard work,” said Hanson. “I think they’ve been averaging about 92 points a game, which is really high, and to hold a team like that to 23 in the second half is really a good sign.”
The Ravens will tangle with Pitt Meadows Friday following Thursday’s contest with Port Moody. Hanson said the games will be huge but contends the real work begins when the playoffs start next week.
“The bottom line is we all have to do it again and no matter who we play it’s going to be tough next week, but being in the top two would be nice.”