The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors have two games left to win if they hope to qualify for senior boys AAA basketball provincials, with the first coming tonight (Thursday) against the Princess Margaret Lions.
Both teams will be fighting to continue their season, as the winning team advances to Fraser Valley championship’s final-eight showdown this weekend at the Langley Events Centre, and the losing squad is eliminated. The top seven from the LEC will advance to provincials in two weeks.
WRCA was knocked into must-win mode after a 60-51 loss to Tamanawis Monday. It was the first loss of Fraser Valleys for White Rock, who defeated Maple Ridge Friday and Kwantlen Park in the opener earlier last week.
Last year, WRCA failed to qualify for provincials for the first time in more than a decade, and it was a Thursday elimination game against the Fleetwood Park Dragons that proved to be their undoing. Tonight’s game against Princess Margaret, as fate would have it, is to be played at Fleetwood Park.
“Last night after the game, one of our seniors stood up and made sure everybody knew that this is where our season ended last year, and that it can’t happen again,” said WRCA coach Dale Shury, who has taken over head-coaching duties from the recently resigned John Dykstra.
Monday’s loss to Tamanawis was tough, Shury said, because the Wildcats have now gotten the better of the Warriors in three of four games this season, though the first three games were decided by a combined four points.
The Warriors started slow Monday, at least offensively, and trailed Tamanawis 44-30 after three quarters, before putting up 21 points in the final frame.
“I was hoping for a little more last night. We just weren’t hitting shots, and Tamanawis runs a very good (defence),” Shury said. “We played a decent game, just not good enough.”
Shury said the upheaval surrounding the team – Dykstra resigned his coaching post Feb. 21 – may have been playing on the minds of his players, but insists it’s business as usual going forward.
“They’re a pretty resilient group, and from this point on, I think they’re just focused on winning.”