After coming agonizingly close the past few years, the Brookswood Bobcats senior boys are once again part of March Madness.
The Bobcats enter as the Fraser Valley’s fourth seed, marking the first time they will appear at the big dance — and their first time since the tournament moved to the Langley Events Centre — in 11 years.
“We just played how we needed to play finally,” said Brookswood coach Jyoti Pawar.
Three times in the past five years, the ’Cats have faced a win-and-in scenario, only to come up short, the coach explained.
To qualify this time, they needed a top-four finish at the Fraser Valley 3A zone championships last week at Guildford Park Secondary.
Brookswood opened with a 67-60 win over the Maple Ridge Ramblers, lost 63-51 to the Guildford Park Sabres, and then stayed alive in the double-knockout format with a 56-46 win over Sullivan Heights and 57-51 over the Southridge Storm.
That set up another match with Guildford Park — who had also beat Brookswood by 10 points in league play — but this time, the ’Cats prevailed 51-42.
In both previous games, Brookswood led at the half, only to falter in the third quarter.
“We couldn’t hit shots in either and were in foul trouble,” Pawar said.
And with a team not known for putting up points, playing catch-up is not the ’Cats’ strong suit.
Brookswood would close the zone championships with a 38-35 loss to Maple Ridge in the bronze medal game, with Pawar saying both teams were exhausted after a long and grueling week.
Sam Ready and Jaye Raganit were named second team all-stars from the championships.
Another local team was also competing at zones, but the Langley Saints lost 90-47 to the Robert Bateman Timberwolves and 77-57 to the Abbotsford Panthers.
Brookswood enters the B.C. 3A provincial championships as the No. 15 seed as the tournament kicks off today (Wednesday) and runs until Saturday.
Two other Langley senior boys teams are also tipping off at the LEC this week.
In the 4A tournament, Walnut Grove enters as the top seed while in the 1A championships, Credo Christian is ranked No. 4.