The Yale Lions are kings of the court. On Saturday the Abbotsford team defeated Terry Fox in a 69-63 thriller to win the 2015 BC High School Boys 4A Championship.
“It’s just fantastic. It feels like we really accomplished something,” said Yale coach Euan Roberts. “[Our team went] from the bottom of the honourable mentions [in pre-season rankings] to the top of 4A basketball.”
In the championship tilt Yale was once again led by their dynamic backcourt duo of Grade 12 guard Jauquin Bennett-Boire and Grade 11 guard Riley Braich.
Bennett-Boire scored a game-high 44 points and added 16 rebounds. He was also able to make his free throws when it really counted late in the fourth with the back-and-forth game on the line.
“It came down to who making was making their free throws,” said Roberts, “and we made our free throws.”
Bennett-Boire was named tournament MVP.
“He came up big for us in scoring and rebounding,” said Roberts about Bennett-Boire’s performance in the final.
Braich scored 14 points and was named a tournament first-team all-star.
Throughout the Fraser Valley playoffs and provincials Yale forwards Tamikah Otanga and Mike VanderWerff provided solid rebounding at both ends of the court, while Terry Kwon and Matt Kerc-Murchison did an excellent job of defending the opposition's top players.
Roberts said being left out of the the Top 10 pre-season rankings didn’t really bother they team. In fact, it provided extra motivation for the Lions.
“We felt we were one of the top teams in the province.”
And with a lot of parity in the division this year, the Lions just wanted to make it to the provincials, where “anything can happen.” “[We] felt we could win with this mix," said Roberts. “It was a fantastic run to finish the season 8-0."
Saturday's 4A championship game was played in front of close 4,000 fans at the Langley Events Centre.
On Sunday, coach Roberts had the official championship trophy on display in his living room. “It looks pretty good,” he said.
The trophy at Roberts’ home must be returned to the BC Boys Basketball Association, while a second trophy will remain with the school for permanent display. At the moment, the second trophy is being shared among the players.
This marks the third time Yale has won a provincial boys basketball title, with the other championship seasons coming in 2007-08 and 2009-10.
Check abbynews.com for updates and Wednesday's Abbotsford News print edition for more coverage. More photos at abbynews Facebook and Flickr.