Warriors regain title at RCMP Classic

Given a slight scare in Friday night’s semifinal, the White Rock Christian Academy (WRCA) Warriors had no intention of letting up on their opponent Saturday night.

The Warriors led from start to finish in the championship game of the Surrey RCMP Classic high school boys basketball tournament, claiming their seventh title in the past decade with a convincing 91-53 win over the Princess Margaret Lions.

While winning the annual all-Surrey tournament is a habit for the school, for the current group of Warriors, it was a first. WRCA lost last year’s final to the Elgin Park Orcas, and set a goal of regaining the championship in 2008.

“It’s very satisfying for the kids to get that win,” said Warriors coach Scott Allen. “They’re a very talented group – good enough to win it – but they’ve had sort of an albatross hanging around their necks until now.

“Now they’ve proven they can win, so we’re excited about that.”

After winning their first two games by a combined 114 points, WRCA eked out a 66-60 win over the Kwantlen Park Timberwolves in Friday night’s semifinal game. It was a case of the Timberwolves playing well, but also the Warriors performing at less than their best.

“They have some strong forwards that played well against us, and we also didn’t have very good three-point shooting in that game – we were 1-for-14,” said Allen. “We had a 14- or 15-point lead at one point. We gave up a few baskets at the end but I was always fairly confident we’d win it.”

There was no doubt in Saturday’s final. The Warriors hit a three-point shot to open the scoring, led by nine after the first quarter, and were up by 16 at the break.

Spencer McLean led the WRCA attack, netting 28 points in the first three quarters before spending the fourth on the. The six-foot-six Grade 12 guard hit four three-point shots.

“He found his stroke right now,” said Allen. “He’s playing a lot more inside right now, which is how we want him to play, but when we need him to shoot from the outside, he’s still able to hit those shots, too.”

Lain Con with 13 points and Nick DeKoster with 12 also scored in double digits for the Warriors, who had nine of 12 players in on the scoring.

Clark Callejo with 16 points and David Grobelski with 14 paced the Lions, a team which reached the final of the RCMP Classic for the first time in the tournament’s 17-year history.

The Tamanawis Wildcats matched their best-ever tournament placing, taking third place with an 83-81 triumph over the Timberwolves in a consolation game.

Michael Bains of the Wildcats hit a pair of free throws for the winning points, two of his 29 scored on the night. Aurel David, a Grade 11 guard, contributed 24 points to the Tamanawis win.

Mark Dabrowski accounted for close to half the Kwantlen Park offence, scoring 39 points, with Wayne Fernandes scoring 15 and Justin Cabatuando adding 11 to the Timberwolves total.

FREE THROWS: Spencer McLean of WRCA was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and also won the Slam Dunk competition. Teammate Nick DeKoster was a first-team all-star, while Lain Conn was a second team choice.

Rounding out the first team was Mark Dabrowski of Kwantlen Park, Devon Carney of the Guildford Park Sabres, Damian Naidu of Tamanawis and David Grobelski of Princess Margaret.

Also on the second team were Justin Cabatuando of Kwantlen Park, Ahsan Gulabyar of Guildford Park, Oscar Solito of Princess Margaret and Kurtis Osborne of the Southridge Storm.

Other award winners were Aurel David of Tamanawis (Most Inspirational), Patrick Severide of Southridge (three-point shooting contest), and the Enver Creek Cougars (Most Sportsmanlike Team).

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