The W.J. Mouat Hawks and the Yale Lions both dreamed of playing on centre court at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday, but it’s safe to say the fifth/seventh placing game wasn’t part of that dream.
Both Abbotsford teams in the B.C. boys AAA high school basketball championship draw saw their title hopes snuffed during Thursday’s quarter-finals – Mouat succumbing 72-69 in overtime to White Rock Christian Academy, and Yale falling 96-85 to St. George’s.
Relegated to the consolation side, both teams were victorious on Friday – Mouat beating South Kamloops 77-70 and Yale topping Burnaby South 86-79 – to set up a crosstown clash in their finale on Saturday.
The Hawks prevailed 81-71, and the result can be classified an upset – the Lions had won all three previous meetings between the two teams this season.
Tristan Etienne (17 points, 18 rebounds) and Daniel Pawliuk (17 points) tied for team-high scoring honours for Mouat, while Corey Hauck (14 points, six assists) and Jesse Feenstra (12 points) also scored in double digits.
Yale’s JJ Pankratz counted four three-pointers among his game-high 26 points, and Jauquin Bennett-Boire (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Abraham Falls (15 points) also chipped in offensively. Lions centre Patrick Vandervelden was a force inside, swatting 11 shots and hauling down 10 rebounds.
“Mouat shot the ball well and they played well, but there were some good highlights in the game for us,” Yale coach Al Friesen said, alluding to Vandervelden’s shot-blocking exploits.
“We had some kids who were still sad from Thursday – their minds were still on feeling sorry, what could have been or should have been.
“But it was still a good year. We never were the biggest team or the oldest team out there. We never found that next level of focus that we needed in order to put us over the top, but we came doggone close. The kids came a long way.”
Four Abbotsford players earned tournament all-star nods. Pankratz and Etienne were named to the second team, while Bennett-Boire and Hauck were third-teamers.
Both teams figure to be among the province’s elite again next season – Mouat brings back Etienne and Hauck, while Bennett-Boire, Vandervelden and Jassi Gill are among the Yale starters eligible to return.
The Walnut Grove Gators won the B.C. title, edging White Rock Christian 59-53 in the final to become the first Langley school to win the AAA crown.