In the tightest game of the day on the AAA side, North Delta and McMath traded shots right down to the final seconds. By the end, North Delta would prevail 78-73 in a win that surely gave their fans nearly a collective heart attack.
The first half was high scoring, both teams seemingly traded chances limitlessly. After a first quarter that saw North Delta lead by seven, Ioan Popov went coast to coast, followed by a Rohan Balagaan three to tie it up at 36. Suraj Gahir then hit a nasty step back three, and appeared to have a easy layup mere moment later — only to be denied by Radocaj with a LeBron James-esque block.
Radocaj would tie it at 44 after the first half on a buzzer beating jumper after he stole the ball off the inbound.
The second half began much like the first did, as both teams looked to impose their playing style. North Delta starting hitting their deep shots, with Armaan Johal knocking down one to start. McMath began in their full court press and feeding it to Radocaj, as he had a nice move in the post to get an easy two. North Delta led by three after three.
A tense third quarter led to a near heart stopping forth. It started with another huge Radocaj block — one of four for him in the game. Not to be outdone, Gahir hit a step back three that saw the mostly pro North Delta crowd into a frenzy. He wasn’t done there, blocking a three and then going coast to coast for an easy layup.
It all came down to the final minute and a half. After a Jagraj Johal finger roll gave his team a four point lead, Bryce Mason scored from downtown to make it just one. McMath was forced to foul to stop the clock at this point, and North Delta made them pay — not from the line, but on the glass as they got two straight offensive rebounds to kill valuable seconds.
Despite barely out rebounding McMath, North Delta got them when it mattered most.
“That was the whole gameplan” said North Delta coach Manvir Gahir on his team’s tenacious rebounding. “We knew McMath had a lot rebounds, they rebound well and they’re big. We had to box out and our big men stepped up and did it.”