The W.J. Mouat senior boys basketball team won its opener at AAA provincials on Wednesday, edging the Fleetwood Park Dragons 57-52 at the Langley Events Centre.
It wasn’t a vintage performance from the Fraser Valley champs, particularly in the rebounding department, as they allowed the smallish Surrey squad to collect 32 offensive caroms.
But big games from Gurminder Kang and Sunny Johal powered the Hawks past the Dragons and into the Elite Eight. They play the winner of Wednesday evening’s late game between Burnaby South and Oak Bay in the quarter-finals on Thursday (6:30 p.m., LEC).
“We knew it was going to be a little bit of a jittery start,” Hawks coach Sean Beasley said. “We kind of worked out some kinks in the first half, and I thought we adjusted pretty well in the second.”
The Hawks clearly missed Jesse Coy in the early going against Fleetwood – the sharpshooting Grade 11 guard has been sick in bed the past three days, and Beasley elected not to use him until the fourth quarter.
“It was tough playing without him, but I thought we’d rest him as much as we possibly could,” the Hawks bench boss explained.
Kang, the MVP of the Fraser Valley Tournament, blew up in the second half, racking up 20 of his game-high 25 points after the break. He also pulled down 11 rebounds, while senior centre Johal posted 17 points and 15 boards.
Avi Grewal (17 points) and Harp Grewal (12 points) led the Dragons, who shot just 26 per cent (14-for-53) from the field.