Updated: Gators' Getz gets all-star nod

Walnut Grove’s Paul Getz goes up for the shot against the Vancouver College Fighting Irish during opening round play last week at the AAA basketball championships. Getz, a Grade 10 player, was named a third team all-star for the Gators, who finished eighth at the tournament, the school’s best showing since 2000. - John Gordon/Langley Times
Walnut Grove’s Paul Getz goes up for the shot against the Vancouver College Fighting Irish during opening round play last week at the AAA basketball championships. Getz, a Grade 10 player, was named a third team all-star for the Gators, who finished eighth at the tournament, the school’s best showing since 2000.
— image credit: John Gordon/Langley Times

At the start of the season, if you had told Paul Getz he would be an all-star at the provincial basketball championships, he would not have believed it.

After all, Getz is in Grade 10, playing up a level with the Walnut Grove senior boys team.

And the Gators had some star power of their own in senior forward Larry Blyth and guards Jack Tsai and Derek Muxworthy, to name a few.

As far as Getz was concerned, he just wanted to chip in and play his role.

Over the weekend, the Gators finished a respectable eighth at the 20-team AAA B.C. high school championships held at the Langley Events Centre.

And helping lead the way was Getz, a six-foot-three forward who averaged nearly 15 points and just over 10 rebounds per game.

His efforts earned him a third team all-star selection.

Out of the 15 all-star awards, two of the second team all-stars and two of the third team all-stars were Grade 11s, but Getz is the lone Grade 10 to earn the honour.

“I was really surprised (with the award),” he said. “We had such a great team and for me to be picked out of all of them was a great surprise.”

His coach wasn’t surprised, saying Getz was the team’s best player in two of the games and probably second-best in the other two.

“A player who averages a double-double is having a good tournament,” said George Bergen.

Getz’s play in the latter half of the season shows why Bergen brought him up to the senior level a year early.

“I recognized he had not only ability but also real drive and energy,” the coach said. “And that was displayed at provincials.”

Bergen called him one of the top five players in the province for his age group.

Getz joined the senior team last year after the season for spring ball and did not look out of place.

“Playing from junior to senior, the pace of the game is just so much faster,” he admitted. “It took me a few games to get used to.”

He began the season as the sixth or seventh man, but by the time the playoffs rolled around, Getz was starting some games depending on the matchup.

Getz also came up big as the Gators’ top player, Blyth, turned his ankle in the second game, limiting him for the rest of the tournament.

Walnut Grove, the fourth seed out of the Fraser Valley, drew a tough opening round opponent, facing the Vancouver College Fighting Irish (Lower Mainland #3) in the sweet 16.

The Gators led 34-29 at the half, but the Irish took over in the third quarter and won 76-62.

The Irish advanced all the way to the championship game before losing 71-63 to Richmond’s R.C. Palmer Griffins.

“We knew coming in that Vancouver College was a good team — and they showed that in making the finals — but we knew we were a good team too,” said Getz, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds in that game, his lowest numbers of the tournament.

And the team was able to put their disappointment behind them for the rest of the tournament.

“Something just clicked,” he said. “Just the atmosphere in our locker room was completely different for our next game.

“Everyone wanted it and it showed on the court. We were a completely different team.”

Getz really ramped his game up over the team’s final three contests, finishing with 17 points and six boards in a 69-44 win over the Gleneagle Talons and then 13 points and seven rebounds in a 90-77 overtime victory over the Oak Bay Bays.

In the first game, Walnut Grove came out gunning and led 23-4 and then 42-13 at the half.

In the latter, the Gators rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime when Muxworthy banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game.

Muxworthy finished with 25 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Tsai scored a team-high 27 points, including six three-pointers.

Getz saved his best for last in the game for sixth place, scoring 19 points and hauling down 20 rebounds.

Unfortunately, the Gators lost 68-60 to the Sir Charles Tupper Tigers, to wind up eighth.

“If someone had told us at the beginning of the season we had placed eighth, we would have been happy with it,” said Gators forward Larry Blyth.

“The real goal was to put ourselves in position to do what we wanted to and we were in that position in the first game.

“They might have been the better team on that night, but it is hard two win a game when you have 28 turnovers, that was the difference. We were right in the game.”

Blyth had a monster game against Van College, finishing with 23 points and 17 rebounds, but an ankle injury hobbled him for the rest of the tournament, as he played just 19 minutes against Gleneagle and nine minutes against Oak Bay.

He did return to full action for the final game of his high school career.

He said there were some tears in the locker room following the team’s final defeat, but not because of how the season ended, but rather because the players’ time together had come to an end.

Blyth was boarding a plane on Monday as he went to visit schools in Ontario and Montreal for his post-secondary playing options.

He is one of nine graduating seniors on the team.

The others include: Tsai, Muxworthy, John Boss, Brendan Ramm, Andrew Dixon, Cole Parker, Braeden Donnelly and Mike Elliott.

For photos from throughout the tournament, visit online

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