Burnaby South’s Justin Sunga drives hard against Mount Vernon’s Troy Hupstead during the Snowball Classic final on Saturday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Burnaby South’s Justin Sunga drives hard against Mount Vernon’s Troy Hupstead during the Snowball Classic final on Saturday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Mount Vernon defeats Burnaby South in Snowball final

Knights down Rebels 95-77 to earn 2019 championship, Abbotsford’s Mouat Hawks finish third

British Columbia’s best from 2018 – the Burnaby South Rebels – pushed New York’s Mount Vernon Knights hard in the first half, but a strong third quarter fuelled the Knights to a 95-77 win in front of a packed crowd at Abbotsford Senior on Saturday’s Snowball Classic final.

The Rebels, winners of the 4A senior boys provincial crown last year, tied the game at 32 mid-way through the second quarter, but a late run put Mount Vernon ahead 40-34 at the half.

The third quarter was all Mount Vernon, as the American squad outscored the Rebels 25-13.

Knights head coach Bob Cimmino admitted that the Rebels posed a stiff challenge.

“They were a very good team,” he said. “I told our guys at halftime that they outplayed us. They played harder than us and it was very difficult at times for us to cover them.”

Cimmino said the play of centre Troy Hupstead and guard/forward Sebastian Daley made the difference in the second half.

“The big boy, Troy, made some really good baskets for us,” he said, of the six-foot-six Hupstead. “And Sebastian came off the bench for us and got 24 [points], he helped to negate some of the pressure they were putting on us.”

It was a successful return to the Snowball Classic for the Knights, who also captured the championship in 2016. Mount Vernon also posted wins over the host Abbotsford Panthers (110-75) on Friday and the Centennial Centaurs (102-66) on Thursday.

Cimmino said the Snowball Classic has become a favourite stop for he and his team.

“We love the hospitality of Abby and the people here are great and they really embrace us,” he said. “We’ve made some great friendships out here.”

The third place game was a thriller, as the W.J. Mouat Hawks edged the host Panthers 83-73 in overtime.

For more on that game and the rest of the event, read Wednesday’s print edition of the Abbotsford News.

Slideshow by: Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News