Semiahmoo took it to Tamanawis in the second half to win the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic at Enver Creek Secondary on Saturday night (Jan. 20).
The South Surrey-based Totems downed the Newton-area Wildcats by a score of 73-64 to win the tournament’s senior boys championship.
Semiahmoo was down by 18 at halftime, but dug deep to win the Classic for a second year in a row.
“The RCMP tournament is a really meaningful one – it means a lot to us as a team, and it means a lot for the city, too,” Semiahmoo head coach Ed Lefurgy told Black Press. “So for us to be back-to-back champs, it’s a big deal for us.”
Last year, the Totems defeated the Panorama Ridge Thunder 66-63 for their first RCMP crown in more than two decades, having previously won it in 1995.
But if not for a second-half surge from Semiahmoo, the Classic trophy could have very well headed back to Tamanawis, winners of the tournament from 2014-’16. The Totems regrouped at halftime after being down early, and took control in the second, chipping away at the lead until they eventually had it themselves.
“The entire second half, we just went on a run,” Lefurgy said.
“We were down big at halftime… but our guys just showed a lot of character – grit, perseverance, all that kind of stuff – and we took it possession by possession and got it done. It was awesome and so fun to be a part of.”
Tamanawis advanced to the final by beating Guildford Park 95-83 on Friday, while Semiahmoo took care of Lord Tweedsmuir 82-72 in the other semifinal.
Rather than simply rely on one player at the offensive end of the court, Semiahmoo got contributions Saturday from a handful of players. Four players finished with double-digit points – Adam Paige had 22, Dominic Calderon 17, Vlad Mihaila 16 and Jordan Chen had 10 – while a fifth, guard Dennis Alizadeh, had eight.
“It was a team effort – just a complete team effort, so that was the neat part,” Lefurgy said.
As well as the team played offensively in the second half, Lefurgy was also quick to laud his group’s defensive effort – especially in slowing down Wildcats’ star guard Miguel Tomley, who was named tournament MVP. Tomley – who has been one of the best players in the province since he was a junior – still finished with a game-high 27 points, but only seven of them came after halftime.
“The whole second half, the boys just dug in and committed to stopping (him),” Lefurgy said. “He’s a very good player… so our whole team had to guard him.”
More than 600 boys played in the tournament, which got going Sunday (Jan. 14) and continued all week.
This year, the 27th annual tourney featured 22 senior teams and 20 junior squads playing at school gyms across Surrey. In the junior final, played earlier Saturday, Tamanawis beat Lord Tweedsmuir to win the tourney banner.
In the tournament’s B Pool championship, Frank Hurt edged Surrey Christian by a score of 63-61.
For tournament scores and stats, visit surreybasketballclassic.info.
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The 20-page tournament program, published by the Now-Leader, features a photo of Raphael Alcoreza, the Panorama Ridge senior who died last month in hospital, after collapsing during a game at Holy Cross Regional High School.
• READ MORE: 600-plus boys in action during Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic, from Jan. 9.
In the junior bracket last year, Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers were winners after a 67-66 thriller over the defending champs of Semiahmoo.
– with files from Nick Greenizan