For one last time, the Lower Mainland AAA Final — AKA the Crehan Cup — was played out at Lord Byng Secondary. The Argyle Pipers and R.A. McMath Wildcats battled it out for the ultimate bragging rights, not only for Lower Mainland champs but the very last ones as well.
Argyle raced out to an 19-8 lead and then scored 15 straight points between the end of the first and into the second quarter, building up a 23 point lead before the first half was close to being completed. It was an impressive display of shooting, with the Pipers hitting 6 three’s and a ton of tough jumpers.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on it” said Argyle head coach Anthony Beyrouti on his team’s outstanding shooting throughout the game. “Our kids are in the gym two to three times a week in the morning, shooting all the time. We’ve got a huge buy in with the kids from top to bottom. They definitely came ready to go and we hit some huge shots right off the top to set the tempo. [. . .] It was lights out and it was fun to watch”
But like every good team, McMath refused to just roll over and give up. The Wildcats went on an amazing run in the third quarter, and at the end of the frame it was 64-62 for Argyle — a far cry from the 20+ point lead they had earlier.
“They’re a very gritty team” said Beyrouti on his team’s opponent. “McMath are very well coached, they play very tough. We knew they were going to make a run at some point, we just had to withstand it. They started hitting a ton of shots and we just needed to refocus ourselves, play some defence, and get back to hitting some shots again.”
And refocus they did. The fourth quarter belonged to Argyle, as they outscored McMath 24-5. All the shots that weren’t going in during McMath’s run were falling — it was like the basketball gods were rewarding the Pipers for their patience weathering the storm.
It was Argyle’s third straight Lower Mainland championship, an impressive run of dominance. Of course with the zone changes coming for next season, it was the last one and perhaps making this one just a bit more special than the previous ones.
“I’ve only gotten on the scene in the last few years and we’ve been able to win the last three in a row” Beyrouti commented after his team's victory. "It’s been very cool to be a part of it but the kids they left it all on the court and it was fun to watch.”
Both Argyle and McMath will be at the Provincial tournament starting on February 27th. The seeds will be announced on Wednesday starting at 7:00 pm.
Written by: Nick Bondi