Yale hoopsters fall to Point Grey in AAA boys provincial opener

For the Yale Lions, simply competing at the storied B.C. AAA high school boys basketball championship was a memory to be treasured.

Jacquin Bennett-Boire of the Yale Lions launches a buzzer-beater at the end of the first half against Point Grey on Tuesday.

Jacquin Bennett-Boire of the Yale Lions launches a buzzer-beater at the end of the first half against Point Grey on Tuesday.

For the Yale Lions, simply competing at the storied B.C. AAA high school boys basketball championship was a memory to be treasured.

The end result wasn’t what they’d dreamed of, though.

The Lions led by 11 points midway through the second quarter in their opening-round game against Point Grey of Vancouver on Tuesday, but the Greyhounds rallied past them in the second half, winning 77-69.

“We didn’t make it here last year, so it was quite an honour to play,” said Lions senior guard Trevor Berge, who scored nine points in the loss. “Our whole team loved it. It just sucks that we didn’t win.”

The Lions simply couldn’t find a defensive answer for the multi-faceted scoring skills of the Greyhounds’ Andrew Mavety. The senior forward racked up a game-high 34 points, and opened things up for teammate Kyril Fourik to knock down five three-pointers en route to 24 points of his own.

Ball security also hurt the Lions – they turned the ball over 17 times, compared to just nine for the Greyhounds.

Two of Yale’s underclassmen served notice that the Lions will be a team to be reckoned with in the future. Grade 11 swingman J.J. Pankratz (pictured below) counted a trio of three-pointers among his team-high 28 points, while Grade 9 guard Jacquin Bennett-Boire stuffed the box score with 23 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

The Yale-Point Grey clash was the first game of the tournament, which is being held at the Langley Events Centre, and there were multiple stoppages as organizers struggled to work out the kinks with the scoreboards.

Lions coach Al Friesen said those extra stoppages hurt his team. Yale had hoped to push the tempo in an effort to wear out their opponents, but that plan was rendered less effective.

Nor was Friesen pleased that the Greyhounds shot 39 free throws, compared to just 11 for the Lions.

“It’s absurd,” he asserted. “There’s the game, in spades.”

Afterward, Friesen held a lengthy meeting with his team – reflecting on the players’ growth over the course of the season, and focusing on making the Lions’ remaining consolation-side games at provincials a learning experience.

Yale plays at 6 p.m. on Wednesday against the loser of the Mount Douglas-Caledonia game.

• The W.J. Mouat Hawks begin play on Wednesday in the round of 16. They take on Kitsilano at 3 p.m. at the LEC.

Lions guard Jacquin Bennett-Boire drives to the hoop against Point Grey’s Chad Wong. (Dan Kinvig photo)