Bragging rights are the honey of sports – they don’t win the next game, but are so sweet when you get them, especially against a long-running rival.
The Yale Lions got the full bowl last weekend.
Both the senior boys and girls Yale teams won their respective divisions at the sixth annual Abbotsford Police city basketball tournament, which wrapped up at Columbia Bible College on Saturday.
The boys team exploded with a strong second quarter to grab the lead against the Mouat Hawks in the final, and they cruised to a 91-82 win.
The Lions and the Hawks were tied at 18 after the first quarter, but Yale broke through in the second to build a 46-34 lead at half, and led the rest of the way.
Lions head coach Euan Roberts said the game was another chapter in the long-running rivalry between Mouat and Yale basketball.
“Our kids and the Mouat kids have been battling each other since Grade 8,” he said. “We’ve won some and they’ve won some, but it’s good for our kids to get a little bragging rights in their Grade 12 year. It was a great game, and the atmosphere was just fantastic.”
Roberts said his entire starting unit was solid throughout Yale’s three wins. The Lions beat the Abbotsford Panthers 89-59 on Wednesday, and defeated the MEI Eagles 97-52 on Thursday. He said the wins were a team effort.
“We want our defence and rebounding to push our offence so when it works it can help us win the game,” he added.
Roberts said the depth at the tournament proves the strong state of the sport locally.
“Abbotsford basketball is in good shape,” Roberts said. “It’s great to see a crowd like this come out and support local basketball, and the message from the Abbotsford Police Department is an important one.”
The Hawks beat Bateman 85-70 on Wednesday, and then defeated Hansen 89-64 on Thursday to advance to the finals.
The Lions also won the senior girls title, and it was a memorable debut behind the bench for Celeste Dyck. The former Yale and UFV Cascade women’s basketball player led her team to a trio of wins, capped off by a 46-38 win over the MEI Eagles on Saturday at CBC.
Dyck said much of the credit for the win belongs to the team’s stellar defence.
“We were really good on our end, and I thought we played great defence,” she said. “I’m proud of the girls and their efforts. We pushed the ball and got them into foul trouble.”
MEI star Taylor Cousins got into foul trouble early, and Yale never trailed after the first quarter. The Lions struggled in the final frame, only scoring two points, but their defence held the fort.
“It’s huge for bragging rights,” Dyck said. “You want to be the top dog in Abbotsford, and it’s a good way to get some momentum going for the start of the season.”
She said the Eagles were a tough test for her team.
“Credit to them, they’re a great team,” she said. “We were on our heels in the fourth quarter, but I like how we eventually responded.”
Players of the game were: Teagan Innes for Yale and Julia Weiss for the Eagles.
Dyck said Innes was a key part of the team’s tournament win.
“She was outstanding the whole tournament,” she said. “She’s a good post for us, a good defender in the paint, great on the boards, and I love her hustle and effort.”
The Lions beat Hansen 57-34 on Wednesday, and bested Mouat 52-45 on Thursday to reach the finals. MEI qualified for the finals with a forfeit win over the Dasmesh Falcons on Wednesday, and a 58-11 win over the Abbotsford Panthers on Thursday.
Mouat took home the junior boys title with a win over MEI, and Bateman beat Yale to earn the junior girls championship. Mouat beat Yale 52-37 to win the Grade 9 boys title, with Gavin Gulku and Conall Sexton winning player of the game honours. Abby Middle defeated Reimer 57-18 to win the Grade 8 boys crown, with Kevin Endozo and Sahil Gill recognized as players of the game. Fraser beat MEI 24-16 in the Grade 8 girls title game, as Summer Joiner and Lily Borseth won player of the game for their teams.