On Friday, with thirty seconds left in the fourth quarter of the AAA provincial semifinals, G.W. Graham Grizzlies 6’10’ senior forward Matthias Klim hit the biggest shot of his career thus far.
It was a simple twelve-foot baseline jumper, one that Klim has shot thousands of times in practices and games. But, this was no regular shot. The swish sent Klim’s three-seeded Grizzlies to the AAA provincial finals with a 50-49 victory over the second-seeded Vernon Panthers.
“He’s been hitting that shot all year,” said Grizzlies head coach Jake Mouritzen. “As soon as it left his hands, I knew it was in.”
For the Grizzlies, this was the second time they topped the Panthers this season. Back on December 14th, the Grizzlies won 67-64 against Vernon in a back-and-forth match.
In their rematch on Friday, the teams traded blows in a gritty and physical game. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Panthers led by five points. But the Grizzlies stuck it out and ultimately came through with a berth to the provincial finals.
“We had to bang, crash and fight just like they do,” said Mouritzen. “The game plan was making sure we stayed out of foul trouble- making sure the Klim’s could stay on the floor the whole game, and they did that.”
Leading G.W. Graham was their 6’2’ grade eleven point-guard Clay Kurtz, who recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Man of the hour Mattias Klim and his twin brother, the 6’9’ Zach Klim, both made big contributions as well. Matthias had 12 points and four rebounds, while Zach had eight points and 10 rebounds.
“This is a special group, but it’s a group that is built from the last thirteen groups before them,” said a passionate Mouritzen. “They’ve walked those guys’ steps- this is our fifth time playing in [the provincial semifinals]. We set a schedule where we play the best of the best all year, and we know we can play in fourth quarters.”
Almost one year ago to the day, the Grizzlies lost in the quarterfinals of the 2019 AAA provincials to a talented Duchess Park Condors squad, 72-64. Now, on Saturday, the Grizzlies get a chance for redemption against the number one seeded Condors with a provincial championship on the line. G.W. Graham has played the Condors once this season, losing 108-88 in the finals of the St. Thomas More Chancellor tournament.
“In the Chancellor tournament finals, they came in and shot the lights out,” said Mouritzen of the Condors. “We’ll be ready tomorrow. Jordan [Yu, Condors head coach] does a great job with that team. They’re a great group of boys. We’re super excited to go against them one more time and compete.”
Written By: Aly Dhanani