The North Delta Huskies are heading to the bronze medal game, after a 16-point run by Burnaby’s Byrne Creek Bulldogs cost the them the semi-finals at the B.C. Boys Basketball Championships.
The Bulldogs are number one ranked AAA team in the province and have beaten the Huskies in their last three meetings.
“It was a tough one we had today,” coach Jesse Hundal said. “They’re a great team — well-coached, they’re long, they’re scrappy.”
The Huskies started off the game strong, scoring five unanswered points in the early minutes of the game, although the Bulldog’s aggressive defence quickly closed the gap.
The first quarter then remained almost actionless as both teams traded scoring opportunities, with the Huskies shooting 4/13 while the Bulldogs shot 4/18, leaving the score 12 -10 for the Huskies at the end of the quarter.
Unlike the Huskies’ previous games against R.A. McMath Wildcats and G.P. Vanier Towhees, they started off the second quarter offensively. They were able to establish a lead, and increased their shooting to 41 per cent. However the suffocating defence of the Bulldogs once again suppressed any further offensive opportunities for the Huskies.
Up 34-29 at the start of the second half, the Huskies hit the ground running at the start of the third quarter, continuing their supurb three point game. Though a quick defensive formation change by Byrne Creek, the game quickly turned around as they went on a 16 unanswered point streak to take the lead and open the game up.
Starting the fourth quarter down, the Huskies continued to rely on shooting from the outside and weren’t able to re-establish their lead, losing 76-64.
“When we were down by eight or nine, we just decided to gamble,” Hundal said. “We got to put some pressure on, we got to shoot some outside shots. And third or fourth quarter, they just tired us out. We ran out of gas.”
This is the second year in a row the Huskies have taken a beating in the semi-finals to end up competing in the bronze medal game, although player Arun Atker said it wasn’t for lack of effort.
“That should have been our game,” Atker said. “The amount of effort and hard work we put in coming into this — it’s just sad to see that we lost again in the semi-finals.”
It will be a battle of the Fraser Valley as the Huskies will now face the Pitt Meadows Marauders in a consolation game for third and fourth.
The last time the Huskies faced the Marauders, the fans fought in the stands.
“We beat these guys in the Fraser Valleys,” Atkun said. “We haven’t lost to them yet all year, so I don’t want to lose to them now.
“It’s going to be hard obviously, but we’re not afraid. We got to fight through it.”
“We’re going to try to win, that’s our mentality,” he said. “We’re not here to participate.”
North Delta will be facing off against Pitt Meadows at 10 a.m. at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday, March 10.