The Yale Lions senior boys and girls are on top of the Abbotsford basketball world after victories on Saturday.
Both teams won their respective divisions at the final at Columbia Bible College, and for the boys team it was a strong second quarter against finalist Mouat Hawks that set the pace for the 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. They led the rest of the way and earned the title with a 91-82 win.
Lions head coach Euan Roberts said this 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.
“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 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 MEI 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, and I thought we shared the ball really nicely on offence.”
MEI star Taylor Cousins got into foul trouble early, committing three fouls in the first half, 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.”
The Lions beat Hansen 57-34 on Wednesday, and bested Mouat 52-45 on Thursday to reach the finals.
Other champions at the event included: Fraser (Grade 8 girls), Abby Middle (Grade 8 boys), Mouat (Grade 9 boys), Bateman (junior girls), and Mouat (junior boys).
For more on the tournament, read Wednesday’s print edition of the Abbotsford News.