For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Kelowna Christian Knights are celebrating the Okanagan Valley A boys basketball title.
In a battle of longtime local rivals and the top two teams in the province, the No. 1 Knights downed the host and No. 2 Immaculata Mustangs 63-51 in Saturday night’s valley final in Kelowna.
The game was hard fought and close most of the way until the final minutes when KCS took charge, stretching a five-point lead at three-quarter time into a 12-point win.
“It was the final 10 minutes of play that showed that the boys were not going to be denied the win,” said Knights coach Gib Hinz.
“Tough, aggressive defense and strong finishing plays on offense gave the Knights their fourth win over the Mustangs this season.”
Tournament MVP Brendan Rempel led the Knights attack in the final with 14 points, with Noah Reich adding 12, and Drew Schulz, 11.
Dario Gini knocked down 20 points, while Alex Hart added 17 for the Mustangs, whose coach was proud of his team’s effort.
“It was a hard fought game as all our games vs KCS are,” said Immaculata coach Dino Gini. “We played nine guys (Friday) and our bench has improved all year, and thus it was real nice to have some depth and that will help us down at the provincials.”
Noah Reich of KCS was named the best defensive player, while Dario Gini won the tournament’s most inspirational honours.
KCS beat St. Ann’s 74-58 in one semifinal, while the Mustangs upended Similkameen 71-65.
KCS, Immaculata and third-place St. Ann’s Academy will represent the Okanagan at the B.C. high school boys A championship next week at Trinity Western in Langley.
The Knights opens against Mt. Christian on Wednesday, March 7, while Immaculata takes on Cedars Christian.