Championship Game: 8:15pm – Burnaby South Rebels vs. Semiahmoo Totems
Both of these teams have given it their absolute all to make it to the biggest game of the tournament.
On one side, you have the Burnaby South Rebels, a team that came into this tournament 8th overall and has been slightly overlooked by their competition. The last time the Rebels made it to the final game of the Provincials, they came out victorious and won the banner.
Think about that for a moment. That was all the way back in 1979. Fast-forward to today, and head coach Mike Bell believes he has a team that can finally claim the title once again.
Bell praised his Grade 10, Sasha Vujisic, who has played phenomenal defence for the team. He recognizes that other teams are having a tough time putting up points against the Rebels.
“It’s hard to score against us. Our team’s playing defensive basketball, and that’s why we’re here. That came from preaching and practice, making the kids be tougher on each other and it’s worked.”
Burnaby South beat the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers 80-60 in their first matchup of the tournament, and then went on to defeat the 1st overall Oak Bay Bays by 78-66. In the semi-finals, the Rebels had a back-and-forth match with the Belmont Bulldogs, but again utilized their defensive strength to win by 12 points.
With key players like Jusuf Sehic and Noah Pastrana consistently putting up double-digits, and many teammates who can also find the basket, the Burnaby South Rebels have a well-rounded team that have proved they deserve to be here today.
On the other side of the court, the Semiahmoo Totems also have an interesting back-story. The last time the school has seen a banner was in 1976—and it wasn’t even for first place. The Totems have three banners, all of which are for second.
Head coach Ed Lefurgy wanted to change that.
Lefurgy played at UFV under coaching legend Pat Lee. He says Lee instilled in him to work hard, compete, and always have a team first attitude. Something he has taught his Totems to do, as well.
The team plays as a team. It’s evident in every single matchup they’ve had to get to this point.
Semi beat Rutland by over 20 points in their first round; they shut down Holy Cross by over 20 points, and in one of the hottest matchups of the tournament, they edged out the Tamanawis Wildcats.
Coach Lefurgy said his emotions were at an all time high after that game. It’s no surprise, since he’s been coaching some of these boys since they were in Grade 6.
“[They’re] an amazing group that has great leadership, hold each other accountable, mentor young players, and will be missed once they graduate,” he said.
“They have made me very proud to coach them.”
Key players include Adam Paige, Vlad Mihaila, and Jordan Chen. Paige and Mihaila have won player of the game honours throughout the tournament. Chen is the Totems’ starting point guard and is also enrolled in the school’s IB program.
Both the Burnaby South Rebels and the Semiahmoo Totems have different stories of how they came to be here. But one similarity rings true: they play as a team.
And although one will lose as a team tonight, both have shown us all what coming together as one can truly accomplish.
Third Place Game: 4:45pm (CC) - Belmont Bulldogs vs. Tamanawis Wildcats
The Belmont Bulldogs got roughed up by the Burnaby South Rebels in the semi-finals, but don't count them out just yet. They finished 2nd on the island and have come to Provincials with hopes of taking some sort of banner home.
As for the Tamanawis Wildcats, the team had an intense game against Semiahmoo, but unfortunately Miguel Tomley's 48 points were not enough to carry the team to the finals.
Will the team have enough to beat up the Bulldogs? Catch the 3rd place game at the Centre Court to find out!
Written by: Crystal Scuor