Gators devour Lions in league final

For the Yale Lions, a decisive defeat at the hands of the Walnut Grove Gators in Saturday's Fraser Valley East senior boys AAA basketball league final was a timely learning experience.

Trevor Berge of the Yale Lions soars to the hoop against Alex Boschman of the MEI Eagles during Fraser Valley East quarter-final action last week.

Trevor Berge of the Yale Lions soars to the hoop against Alex Boschman of the MEI Eagles during Fraser Valley East quarter-final action last week.

For the Yale Lions, a decisive defeat at the hands of the Walnut Grove Gators in Saturday’s Fraser Valley East senior boys AAA basketball league final was a timely learning experience.

“We have lots of kids who have never been in a game of this magnitude,” noted Lions coach Al Friesen. “Their level of ‘compete’ is better than it was at the start of the year, but it’s not good enough to win big games.”

The Lions, winners of 14 consecutive games heading into Saturday’s final, trailed Walnut Grove by three points at the end of the third quarter. But the taller Gators picked them apart in the final frame and won 74-54. Along the way, Yale missed an astounding 20 free throws.

The Fraser Valley Tournament tips off this week, and the Lions’ group of lightning-quick guards figure to be a handful for any opponent. But Friesen pointed out his team needs to find a higher level of competitiveness in a hurry.

“We can lose to anybody on a given day, or we can beat anybody,” he said.

In other FV East playoff action, W.J. Mouat beat Brookswood of Langley 77-63 in the bronze medal game. The MEI Eagles downed Abbotsford Collegiate 80-65 to finish fifth, while Maple Ridge edged the Bateman Timberwolves 57-53 in the seventh-eighth placing game.

At Sunday’s seeding meeting, Yale landed the No. 9 seed for the Fraser Valleys. They open against No. 24 Charles Best at Enver Creek Secondary in Surrey (6:15 p.m.) in Friday’s opening round.

The opening-round schedule for the rest of Abbotsford’s teams is as follows:

• No. 10 W.J. Mouat vs. No. 23 Port Moody, 6:15 p.m. @ Gleneagle (Coquitlam)

• No. 15 MEI vs. No. 18 South Delta, 6:15 p.m. @ Pitt Meadows

• No. 17 Abbotsford Collegiate vs. No. 16 Delta, 6:15 p.m. @ Terry Fox (Port Coquitlam)

• No. 25 Robert Bateman vs. No. 8 Enver Creek, 8:15 p.m. @ Enver Creek (Surrey)

For a full schedule, visit bchsbba.com.