Goertzen nets 20, Gators win Grade 8 title for fifth straight year

Walnut Grove Gators
Walnut Grove Gators' Andrew Goertzen goes up for a tough shot against a triple team defence from the Mountain Eagles. Goertzen scored a game-high 20 points as the Gators won the Grade 8 boys' district basketball championship at the Langley Events Centre 44-32.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

With their offence struggling to make baskets, the Walnut Grove Gators defence stepped up and the end result was a fifth straight Langley district title.

The Gators Grade 8 boys basketball team held the R.E. Mountain Eagles to three points in the second quarter, turning a five-point lead into a 12-point advantage, which they would not relinquish. The final score was 44-32 for Walnut Grove.

"I think both teams struggled making baskets," said Walnut Grove co-head coach Terry Stead.

"But the boys found a way to win."

"Mountain played hard and it was two good teams going at it," Stead added.

"We just out-lasted them."

A big key to the victory was the Gators size inside.

Andrew Goertzen led the way with 20 points, including all six points for his team in the third quarter and then Walnut Grove's first eight in the fourth quarter.

For the Eagles, Andrew Song led the way with nine points.

"Defensively, I think we played well," Stead said about his team which gave up just a dozen points in the opening half.

"We were really happy with our defence going into the locker room."

Playing in the district title game was the goal from season's start and the Gators have not disappointed.

They went undefeated during league play and won three of the five tournaments they entered.

Both Walnut Grove and Mountain, as well as Langley Christian and H.D. Stafford — who finished third and fourth, respectively at districts — will be in the field for the 32-team Fraser Valley championships.

The Gators are seeded fifth while Mountain is 12th. Both teams face their opening round opponents — No. 28 Sands and No. 21 North Surrey — on Feb. 19 at Walnut Grove Secondary.

No. 18 Langley Christian faces No. 15 Pitt Meadows at Delta Secondary while No. 19 H.D. Stafford battles No. 14 Eugene Reimer at Tamawanis Secondary.

The winners advance to the round of 16 on Feb. 19 before the final eight play in the Fraser Valley championship round (Feb. 22, 23 and 25) at Archbishop Carney.

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