Van College snuffs Mouat’s title hopes

The W.J. Mouat Hawks' thrilling playoff run stalled in the provincial AAA semifinals, as they dropped a 74-56 decision to the Vancouver College Fighting Irish at the Langley Events Centre on Friday evening.

Van College snuffs Mouat's title hopes

The W.J. Mouat Hawks’ thrilling playoff run stalled in the provincial AAA boys basketball semifinals, as they dropped a 74-56 decision to the Vancouver College Fighting Irish at the Langley Events Centre on Friday evening. The Hawks struggled offensively in the early going – the Irish’s defensive pressure yielded a series of turnovers, and Mouat shot just 25 per cent (8-for-32) in the first half en route to a 37-22 deficit at the break.The Fraser Valley champions tried to mount a comeback in the second half, trimming the Van College lead down to 11 at one point in the fourth quarter. But the Irish hit a trio of triples in the closing minutes – two from Reiner Theil, one from Isiah Solomon – to snuff the Hawks’ rally.Mouat moves on to the bronze medal game (Saturday, 6 p.m., LEC) against the loser of Friday’s late semifinal between the R.C. Palmer Griffins and the Terry Fox Ravens. “Unfortunately, it one of those days where nothing wanted to fall for us,” Hawks coach Sean Beasley said. “We couldn’t make a breakaway layup drop for us. I don’t know what to say, except I’m proud of these guys. You’re going to have those days, and unfortunately it was in the semifinal where it happened to us.”Mouat forward Gurminder Kang notched his third double-double in three games at the provincial tourney, racking up 19 points and 13 rebounds. Hawks centre Sunny Johal had 10 points and 10 boards, while Solomon (24 points) and Theil (23) paced the Irish.With the loss, the Hawks boys’ dream of matching their senior girls team as AAA provincial champions died. But nevertheless, it was a tremendous playoff run from a team that some observers had written off heading into the Fraser Valley Tournament.”I think our guys showed a lot of character,” Beasley said. “There was a lot of criticism being thrown our way, and there’s nothing that makes me feel better as a coach than to see those guys rise up to the level they did and knock off some pretty highly ranked teams.”