Bulldogs end Gators championship dreams

Walnut Grove Gators
Walnut Grove Gators' Jadon Cohee is guarded closely by Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs' Gary Minhas during quarter-final action at the BC high school boys 4A basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre on March 13. The Bulldogs beat the Gators 75-70 to move on to the semifinals, while Walnut Grove will now play for fifth to eighth place.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

The Walnut Grove Gators came close to recovering from a horrific start, but in the end fell short, losing 75-70 to the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs.

The two teams — the Gators were seeded fourth and the Bulldogs fifth — were playing in the quarter-finals of the B.C. high school 4A basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre on Thursday afternoon.

"What happened was (Churchill) came out very energetic, very lively, moving everywhere on offence and defence," said Walnut Grove coach George Bergen.

"(And) we were slow."

The Bulldogs raced out to a huge first quarter lead and were up 31-10 after one quarter.

The Gators — the defending provincial champions who beat the Bulldogs last year in the opening round of the tournament — cut the lead to 43-34 at the half.

And down 70-60 with 5:39 to go, Walnut Grove kept coming back and had the lead down to three and possession of the ball, but could not get any closer.

"We had our opportunities in the end," Bergen said. "We showed some signs of life but we didn't take advantage of our opportunities."

A big problem for the team was their failure to hit their foul shots and their inability to keep Churchill off the offensive boards.

The Gators missed 10 free throws and were out-rebounded 57-47, with the Bulldogs grabbing 26 offensive rebounds.

"Our goal was to control the defensive glass and their transition and we lost on both ends."

The Bulldogs were led by Mindy Minhas' 28 points and 16 rebounds, while Jadon Cohee scored 21 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for Walnut Grove.

The Gators' Andrew McKay chipped in with 17 points.

The best Walnut Grove can finish is fifth.

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