On Saturday night, we watched some of our favourite BC high school players take to the court for the last time in their high school tenure.
April 14th boasted two games; both of which included a handful of first and second team all-stars from provincials that will graduate in the coming months. If provincials taught us anything at all, it’s that anyone can win at any time.
We saw that yet again in tonight’s 3A versus 4A game.
The 4A boys were dressed in all dark jerseys and were the first to put some points up on the scoreboard, with Jack Cruz-Dumont going on a 7-0 run early on in the first. Team 3A continuously hit back, eventually tying it up and even pulling ahead.
Byrne Creek’s Martin Djunga showed the crowd exactly why he deserved to be there, scoring 8 points for his team in the first quarter. It was clear that all of these boys were not just playing in their final game for fun—they were playing to win.
Gabriel Takeowa of Holy Cross proved just that when he made an insane block on Pitt Meadows Marauders’ Gio Manu. Who, might we point out, has nearly a foot over Takeowa. Just like in Provincials, the boys from Holy Cross made us all believe that size truly does not matter.
3A went up 22-13 on the 4A boys at their highest; however, Jake Willemsen of South Delta smacked in a crucial 3 with one minute left in the first. After a few back-and-forth shots, both teams ended the quarter tied at 24.
Most of the rest of the game followed suit. The second quarter was definitely in 4As favour, with Walnut Grove’s James Woods claiming 10 points for his side of the court. At the end of the first half, his team led 52-41.
Prior to the game, Woods dunked his way to become 2018’s Dunk Contest Champion, too.
He had this to say of his accomplishment:
“I knew I could do those dunks. It’s just a lot of creativity and confidence. I think it’s kind of natural, honestly.”
Woods, among his fellow teammates, felt honoured to play in the All-Star game to play just one last time at the high school level. He plans to play with Drive this summer and keep his options open for post-secondary ball.
Over on the 3A side of things, Provincial Championship winner Nick Sarai from South Kam hit just enough hoops in the 3-point contest to stand above the rest. He was also happy to get the invite to R.C. Palmer Secondary School.
“I was honoured" said Sarai. Winning Provincials, being named MVP was surreal, and then getting the chance to just go off with the All-Star game playing with a bunch of my buddies here, it was great.”
Sarai recently committed to Thompson Rivers University to play with the Wolf Pack. He says he’s looking forward to the transition from high school to university, and of course the challenges and perks that come along with playing with “the big guys”.
Back in the game, the second half heated things up on the court, with the 3A boys making an incredible comeback to within just 7 points of their opponent heading into the fourth quarter. Defense just clicked and Sarai continued his 3-pointers by hitting a crucial field goal to bring the score to within just one point: 84-83.
Byrne Creek’s star guard sunk a fancy layup to give 3A the lead for first time since the beginning of the game. But 4A continued to answer on the scoreboard.
The boys were tied at 88 with just three minutes left to play.
Foul trouble gave 3A a chance at the line where they pulled ahead by 2. Semiahmoo’s Adam Paige clapped right back, though. Then Sarai, again! And even though the boys in white put up another 2 points, it wouldn’t be enough.
Woods solidified the win for Team 4A with a nice field goal, ending the game with a final score of 96-92.
Woods was named Player of the Game for 4A and Djunga for 3A.
Totems’ head coach Ed Lefurgy was thrilled with the win for his 4A boys. Coaching the All-Star game definitely humbled him, too.
“It was a goal of mine for a long time to be invited to this,” said Lefurgy following the game. “Great group of young men to work with, a lot of these guys we’ve battled, so it’s nice to have them on my team finally.”
One of those players being Jusuf Sehic of the Burnaby South Rebels.
Sehic was a key component for his team, who finally brought the banner home to Burnaby for the first time in many years this past season.
Following the Provincial Championship Game, Sehic was named MVP of the tournament, something that did not sit well with Miguel Tomley and his supporters. Tomley scored a monstrous 66 points in the third place game against the Belmont Bulldogs. He also broke tournament records for combined points overall.
Those close to Tomley were very vocal about the league’s decision to name Sehic MVP over him, but the Burnaby South star just shrugged it off.
“I’m going to let him say what he wants to say. I don’t really think about it because I think more about how we won rather than winning the MVP. I feel blessed and thankful that I won it, but at the end of the day, winning the MVP doesn’t really mean anything if you don’t win the championship, right?”
Congrats to the 4A boys for the big win and to every coach and player who had the honour to play in the final game of the season at the 2018 All-Star game. Good luck to all of you on your future basketball endeavours and any other goals you may have for yourself post-secondary.
Be sure to check out the full game highlights on our YouTube channel!
Written by: Crystal Scuor