Walnut Grove's James Woods battles with Kelowna's Owen Keyes during the Snowball Classic final on Saturday.

Walnut Grove's James Woods battles with Kelowna's Owen Keyes during the Snowball Classic final on Saturday.

Walnut Grove Gators win 57th annual Snowball Classic (with video)

Langley high school defeats Kelowna in tournament final



For the first time ever, the Walnut Grove Gators are Snowball Classic champions after defeating the Kelowna Owls 90-84 in Saturday’s final.

Basking in the glow of victory, Gators head coach George Bergen summed up the game rather eloquently.

“Is there anything better than a high school basketball game?” he asked.

The back-and-forth win saw the Gators start hot, building a 23-16 lead, but the Owls awoke in the second quarter and headed into the first half with a 48-46 lead.

“Early on, our shot selection was great and we made a lot of them,” Bergen said. “We defended well and caused some turnovers. But they have a guy named Mason Bourcier, he got rolling and they went on a run in the second quarter.”

Bourcier, coming off a spectacular 52-point performance on Friday, fuelled the Owls’ bounce-back second quarter. He scored 43 against Walnut Grove, but the Owls couldn’t handle the Gators’ depth and the adjustments that Grove made in the third quarter.

The teams were tied at 69 after three, but Walnut Grove took over in the final frame.

A clutch three by Alasdair Coyle was the dagger, and James Woods made some big free throws down the stretch to earn the win.

“Down the stretch they got into foul trouble and with our size advantage we started being able to go inside on them,” Bergen said. “I told them we weren’t going to be able to stop Mason but we have to contain him. Now, 43 points doesn’t sound like containing, but I think the guys learned a lot about helping each other defensively.”

The Gators were led offensively by Ty Rowell, who was named the most valuable player of the tournament and scored 33 points in the final.

First team tournament all-stars were: Bourcier, Owen Keyes, and David Wieczorek from Kelowna; and Jake Cowley and Andrew Goertzen from Walnut Grove.

Second team all-stars were Alex Garcia and Chris Koon from Rolling Hills; C.J. Campbell and Vince Sunga from Burnaby South; and Noah Nickel from Yale.

The Gators rebounded after falling to Winston Churchill in overtime in the third-place game last year. This year they defeated Brentwood College 88-80 on Thursday, and then beat Burnaby South 88-59 on Friday.

The Owls beat Yale 108-75 on Thursday, and then defeated California’s Rolling Hills Prep Academy 104-92 on Friday to reach the final. It’s the second straight year that the Owls fell in the Snowball final.

Bergen said the Snowball is always a fun stop on the yearly schedule.

“I’m an Abbotsford guy and I actually played at the Snowball in the 1960s,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I want to come back here? There are always a whole bunch of competitive teams.”

Rolling Hills beat Burnaby South 100-48 on Saturday afternoon to finish third overall at the event.

The Yale Lions were the top-ranked Abbotsford team at the tournament, and they defeated Brentwood College 85-81 on Saturday afternoon to finish fifth at the event.

Yale’s Noah Nickel was the lone local tournament all-star. The Lions beat Killarney 99-71 on Thursday morning, but then fell 108-75 to Kelowna on Thursday afternoon. Yale then bounced back on Friday with a 92-55 win over Sardis.

The MEI Eagles finished 10th at the event, losing a heartbreaker 102-101 to Brentwood to open on Thursday. MEI then beat Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman Timberwolves 102-90 on Friday, and fell 106-91 to Killarney to close out the event.

Bateman lost 86-72 to Burnaby South on day one, fell 102-90 to the MEI Eagles on Friday and ended with a 92-78 over the host Abbotsford Panthers.

The Panthers were winless at the tournament, losing 105-95 to Sardis on Thursday, falling 109-73 to Killarney on Friday and concluding with a 92-78 setback to the Timberwolves.

For complete results from the event, visit snowballbasketball.com.

The next big local tournament is Bateman’s Timberwolves Classic senior boys basketball tournament, which runs from Jan. 19 to 21. The host Timberwolves, the Panthers and the Rick Hansen Hurricanes are the local teams involved.

A total of 16 teams are participating in the tournament.

For more on that event, visit batemanbasketball.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The driver of a pickup truck failed to stop after knocking down a wooden fence on March 3, 2021. (screen grab)
VIDEO: Footage catches pick-up driver smash fence on Abbotsford/Langley border

Driver came forward after video circulated on social media

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Two men taken to hospital after fight on Keeping Road in Abbotsford

One of the men suffers serious injuries in incident on Thursday night

Stattonrock Design + Build in Abbotsford won four awards at the recent Fraser Valley Housing Awards of Excellence, including for Best Renovation – Whole House and Best Kitchen Renovation over $50,000 for this house.
Abbotsford company wins four housing excellence awards

Stattonrock Design + Build’s honours include Residential Renovator of the Year

....
‘Basmodi Wave’ Indian farmers protest coming to Abbotsford on Sunday

200 pairs of shoes being placed outside Abbotsford city hall to represent deaths during protests

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read