For the second time in three years, the Burnaby South Rebels are provincial champions.
The top-seed Rebels were tied with the third-seed Kelowna Owls at 19 early in the second quarter before reeling off a half-closing 12-5 lead and never looked back, finishing with the 70-58 victory.
The two teams capped off a day of four championship finals as they squared off in the BC High School 4A Boys Basketball Tournament gold-medal game at Langley Events Centre.
A seven-point game at the half, Burnaby South head coach Mike Bell challenged Sasha Vujisic, his six-foot-10 Grade 12 forward.
Vujisic struggled offensively in the first 20 minutes with just two points on 1-for-7 shooting. He did manage nine rebounds, however. But once the second half began, it was a different story as the big man was six-for-eight from the field, finishing with 15 points and 20 rebounds.
“And he responded. He is difficult to stop. If he gets mad, you don’t want to get in his way,” the coach said.
Vujisic was one of four players in double figures for the Rebels with Emir Krupic leading the way with 17 points, as well as nine rebounds. Justin Sunga added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists and Karan Aujla had 13 points and seven rebounds. And rounding out the attack was Jareb Pineda, who finished with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Sunga (a guard who played senior ball last season as a Grade 10) was selected Most Valuable Player.
“My team is so talented, and I love my guys. For me to get MVP means so much to me,” he said. “(Tonight), we showed up, brought that killer mentality and balled out.”
“He saw two box-in-ones (defences), yesterday and today, and he blew by them like they weren’t there,” Bell said of the MVP.
While offences tend to get the accolades, Bell was happy with his team’s defence, despite allowing more second-chance opportunities than he would have preferred.
“At the end of the day, we are walking away with a 12-point team. No team went over 60 points: that is incredible for our defence,” he said.
Over the four days as they held each opponent to less than 60 points with Kelowna’s 58 the closest any team came. The Rebels allowed an average of 50 points per game.
Kelowna and Burnaby South each entered the final with a points differential of +111.
The Owls have relied heavily on their three-point shooting over the first three days, scoring 102 of their 282 points (36 per cent) from beyond the arc.
“We do a pretty good job of chasing people off the line and I think that’s what others didn’t do against them,” Bell said.
Kelowna made 12 of their 47 three-point attempts in the final and while their outside shot would not fall, the Rebels were using their size advantage, outscoring the Owls 46-6 in the paint.
Hunter Simson led the Owls with 14 points and Jonathon Haughton scored 10.
In the third-place game, Vancouver College defeated Handsworth 58-56.
All-Stars and Awards:
Burnaby South’s Emir Krupic was the Quinn Keast Foundation Championship Player of the Game and Jamie Molins (Oak Bay) was named the Braich Foundation Most Inspirational Player. Vancouver College’s Jacob Holt was chosen Best Defensive Player.
The Handsworth Royals were the Most Inspirational Team, the Prince George Polars were the Most Sportsmanlike Team and the Frank Hurt Hornets won the School Spirt Award.
Hunter Simson (Kelowna), Ethan Boag (Claremont), Jacob Holt (Vancouver College), Dominic Parolin (Centennial) and Sasha Vujisic (Burnaby South) were selected First Team All-Stars.
The Second Team All-Stars were Malcom Greggor (Kelowna). Lucas Maffia (Oak Bay), George Horn (Handsworth), Jonathan Haughton (Kelowna) and Jareb Pineda (Burnaby South).