Surrey schools place two-three at B.C. championship tournament

Jauquin Bennett-Boire of the Holy Cross Crusaders loses possession of the ball during a drive against the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs in Saturday night
Jauquin Bennett-Boire of the Holy Cross Crusaders loses possession of the ball during a drive against the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs in Saturday night's final of the B.C. High School 4A Boys Basketball Championships at the Langley Events Centre.
— image credit: BOAZ JOSEPH / THE LEADER

An All-Surrey final at the B.C. Boys 4A High School Basketball Championship didn’t happen, but for the first time in the 69-year history of the tournament two school’s from what is now the largest school district in B.C. have placed in the top three.

The Holy Cross Crusaders, making its first trip to the provincial championship tournament at the highest level (it was 3A prior to this season), finished as the runner-up after falling 67-64 to the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs in the championship game Saturday night the Langley Events Centre.

The Tamanawis Wildcats were the third place team. They lost 68-66 in overtime to the Bulldogs in a semifinal Friday night, before defeating the Sardis Falcons 70-56 Saturday afternoon.

The Crusaders were seeded third at the 16-team tournament, and after two one-sided victories topped Sardis 73-68 in Friday’s semifinal round.

Jonathan Kongbo led the Crusaders with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Jauquin Bennett-Boire with 17 points and Bright Dododza with 13 also scored in double digits, and each had nine rebounds. Taylor Browne contributed 12 points.

Against the second-seed Bulldogs from Vancouver, Holy Cross trailed by two points after one quarter, and by three at the half. The two teams each scored 18 points in the third quarter and 15 in the fourth.

Bennett-Boire with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Kongbo with 20 points and a dozen rebounds were the leaders on the Crusaders squad. Both players are on the tournament’s first all-star team.

The Bulldogs eliminated top-seed Tamanawis from championship contention Friday night.

Tamanawis got off to a great start against Churchill, leading 21-13 after one quarter. The score was tied 31-31 at the half, and in a see-saw second half and overtime, the Bulldogs came out on top. Sukhjot Bains had a solid game, scoring 24 points and adding 16 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. Sukhman Sandhu contributed 14 points and 16 rebounds.

Tamanawis shook off the frustrating loss Friday, and got the jump on the Falcons Saturday afternoon to claim third place, the best ever finish by a Tamanawis team at the provincial championship and the highest finish by a public school from Surrey since the North Surrey Spartans placed second in 1983 – 31 years ago.

Paced by 28 points and 11 rebounds by Bains, the Wildcats led 18-8 after pine quarter and 33-21 at the half. Bains was also named to the first all-star team.

Sandhu also had a double double for Tamanawis, tallying 19 points while grabbing a game-best 20 rebounds. Sukhraj Biring contributed with 14 points.

- The Fleetwood Park Dragons won two of four games at the boys 3A provincial tournament, also staged last week at the Langley Events Centre.

On Friday, John Tusi and Jordan Mendiola led the Dragons with a dozen points each in a 62-53 loss to the Maple Ridge Ramblers.

They then closed out the tournament with a 91-47 romp past the Nanaimo Islanders. Akash Grewal was the top scorer for Fleetwood Park with 26 points. Travis Erickson with 14, Emeka Okuma with 12 and Mendiola with 10 also scored in double figures.

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