The provincial title is still in their sights but this weekend the G.W. Graham senior boys basketball team had to settle for second place at the Fraser Valley Championships.
The Grizzlies faced Mission secondary-ranked number one in the province-in the championship final Saturday.
Although the Grizzlies started the game at less than 100 per cent (Josiah Cockrill was out with a wrist injury, Lucas Mannes and Austin Neetz are still recovering from ankle injuries and other players were battling the flu) the boys in blue and white came out flying in the first quarter.
Mannes and Fran Armengual once again led the squad in the backcourt by draining multiple open shots, putting the Grizzlies up by as many as 12 points early on.
Graham's three post players, Matt McConnell, Cody Hansen and Hank Derksen started the game together for the first time this season in an attempt to counter Mission's size in the frontcourt.
"We came out playing Grizzlies basketball and our big guys ran the floor early, scoring multiple fast-break points," said coach Jake Mouritzen.
At the half the Grizzlies were up by five, but a small breakdown in the third allowed Mission to take the lead heading into the fourth.
Despite Graham hitting one big three after another in the final quarter, the Grizzlies found themselves down by seven with two minutes on the clock.
The final score was 76-62. Mannes and Armengual earned firstteam all-star team honours.
The Grizzlies now have their sights set on the AA provincial championships at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops March 7 to 10.
Langley Christian edges out Unity
In single-A action, Unity Christian faced an epic battle of their own, as they took on arch rivals Langley Christian in the Fraser Valley Championship final in front of 300 enthusiast fans at Trinity Western University Saturday.
"It had the feel of a provincial final," said Flames coach Mike Campbell.
The game was a defensive battle with neither team finding an open shot.
Unity opened on a 14-7 run and had an early lead, but Langley came back and held a 37-30 lead at half.
The Flames pulled to within three points a couple time in the second, but a flurry of big shots by Langley down the stretch put them out of reach, and the final score was 58-46. Unity's Nathan Vugteveen and Ryan Billsten were named first-team all-stars.
Unity now hosts the provincial championships at Trinity Western University March 7 to 10.
Season ends for Storm, Falcons
Both of Chilliwack's AAA squads, meanwhile, bowed out of the highly competitive Fraser Valley Championships in the first elimination round Wednesday.
Chilliwack secondary conceded a close 79-72 game to North Delta.
The Storm were up by six at the half, but a back-and-forth battle in the second ended with Chilliwack down by two in the last minute and 20 seconds of the game.
"We failed to convert, and then they came down and scored a three," said coach Joe Mauro.
Gary McCrea was the Storm's top scorer with 24 points in the final game.
Sardis secondary, meanwhile, went down to Fleetwood Park 67-56 in their final game.
"The game was a lot closer than the score indicates," said Falcon's coach Kyle Graves. "It was a back-and-forth game, and with five minutes left we were up three points."
Sardis ran out of gas, however, and a few mental mistakes in the dying minutes cost the Falcons the game.
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