Gators eighth at provincial championships
Led by all-star forward Paul Getz, the Walnut Grove Gators finished in eighth place at the B.C. high school AAA senior boys' basketball championships.
Getz scored a team-high 19 points in the Gators' final game, a 68-60 loss to the Sir Charles Tupper Tigers on Saturday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre.
Getz, one of just 15 junior players (Grade 9/10) who were playing up a level, was named a third-team all-star.
He finished the four-game tournament averaging nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Twenty teams took part in the tournament, which was held in Langley for the first time.
Walnut Grove went 2-2, opening the tournament with a loss, before bouncing back with a pair of victories.
In the opener, the Gators drew the Vancouver College Fighting Irish, and despite leading at half-time by five points, Walnut Grove could not sustain the momentum, falling 76-62. The Irish would go on to finish second at the tournament, losing the championship final 71-63 to the R.C. Palmer Griffins.
The title was the first ever for the Richmond school, while Vancouver College has two silvers and three bronze medals in the past five years. The Irish were looking for their first championship since 1967 and they lead all B.C. schools with 46 appearances (out of 66) at the tournament and have now finished top three 36 times.
Following the Gators' opening round loss, the team bounced back in a big way. The team raced out to a 23-4 lead and led 42-13 at the half, on their way to a 69-44 win over the Gleneagle Talons.
Getz and Larry Blyth had 17 points apiece.
Facing the Oak Bay Bays on Friday, Walnut Grove again had a big first quarter, leading 29-13, but Oak Bay cut the lead to 35-33 at the half.
And the Gators looked to be on their way to defeat, trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter, before the team caught fire, going on a 13-3 run, including a three-point bank shot from Derek Muxworthy at the buzzer to force overtime.
In the extra time, Walnut Grove took control, outscoring the Bays 17-4.
Jack Tsai had a team-high 27 points, including six three-pointers, while Muxworthy had 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds. He also nailed four three-pointers.
But playing for sixth spot on Saturday, the Gators could not come up with one more win, falling 68-60 to the Sir Charles Tupper Tigers.
Getz scored 19 points and pulled down 20 rebounds in the loss.