Lightning strike back from early deficit
Trailing 12-3 early in Saturday’s Fraser Valley championship game, the Langley Christian Lightning rallied to close the quarter on a 16-4 run.
And the senior boys’ basketball team never looked back, defeating Regent Christian 70-48 at Abbotsford’s St. John Brebeuf School.
While the scoreboard read a 22-point differential between the two teams, it was a much closer game than that.
“It was one of those games where it wasn’t a big of a win as it was,” said Langley Christian coach Matt Van Muyen.
This was Langley Christian’s second straight Fraser Valley Single A senior boys’ basketball title and their fourth in the past six years.
It also avenged a 10-point Lightning loss to Regent Christian back in January at the Christian schools’ tournament.
But on Saturday, after that early hiccup, Langley Christian used defence and rebounding to get their revenge.
“We battled hard all year and continued to preach defence,” Van Muyen said.
“We worked hard and it paid off in the end.”
After watching Regent Christian dominate the offensive boards, especially on the weak side, the Lightning paid extra attention to that facet of the game and eliminated their opponent’s second-chance points.
The Lightning went 8-0 during the regular season, and received a bye through to the Fraser Valley semifinals, where they defeated the host Bears 65-42.
Jason Wright picked up most valuable player honours while Matt Rook was an all-star.
During the regular season, the team fed off its defence — they allowed just 38 points per game — while the guards fuel the offence.
“A lot of our scoring comes from our guards and our inside guys hit the boards hard,” Van Muyen said.
“It is a good team.”
The Lightning were guaranteed a spot at the provincial championships next week (Langley Events Centre, March 9-12) as the host team, but they will go in as the Fraser Valley champs and are the No. 3 seed out of the 16 teams.
Langley Christian opens on Wednesday (March 9) against No. 14 Fort Nelson.
Kelowna Christian and West Point Grey are the top two seeds.
“We are right in the thick of things and I am sure we will give it a good run,” Van Muyen said.
The team won bronze last year.
At the AA tournament, both D.W. Poppy and R.E. Mountain lost in the quarter-finals.
Poppy fell 62-51 to Abbotsford Christian while Mountain lost 70-59 to Archbishop Carney.