Walnut Grove Gators’ Junhee Cho goes up against the defence of Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers’ Keegan Phillpson during the Grade 8 boys Fraser Valley championship game on Monday at WGSS. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

VIDEO: Gators depth leads team to Valley title

Walnut Grove’s Kevin Kao earns most valuable player honours in leading Gators to victory

While most coaches would love to have the top-ranked team, there are definitely challenges to being the one everyone is gunning for. But the Walnut Grove Gators took on that pressure and delivered.

The Gators captured the Grade 8 boys Fraser Valley championship banner on Monday with a convincing 55-28 victory over the No. 2 Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers. The game was played at Walnut Grove Secondary.

For the season, Walnut Grove has lost just one game.

“That’s the tough part — when you are pegged to do really well, the pressure is on to follow through,” said Gators coach Terry Stead. “Everyone is trying to knock you off, so there’s pressure.

“I have been the No. 1 seed before and not won, so it is a huge relief.”

Walnut Grove raced out to a 19-12 lead after one quarter and then seized control in the second quarter as the Panthers were limited to just two points in the eight minutes while the Gators poured in another 14 points.

“I challenged them to be aggressive,” Stead said about his team going up against a strong, physical opponent.”We had to battle back, we had to fight for the loose balls.”

“We just had to wear them down and in the end, that worked.”

Lord Tweedsmuir coach Rob Oyesiku was lamenting his team’s missed shots.

“We came out a little flat,” he said. “(And) throughout the entire game, our boys had chances but they just didn’t drop for us.”

The teams were the top two seeds at the 32-team Fraser Valley championships.

Walnut Grove won their opening game by forfeit over Chilliwack Middle, before delivering three consecutive 70+ performances to advance to the finals.

The Gators beat No. 16 Pitt Meadows 79-34, No, 8 Langley Christian 76-42 and No. 5 Fleetwood Park 73-30.

Lord Tweedsmuir defeated Vedder 55-30, won 62-34 over Elgin Park, topped Holy Cross 62-50 and then edged MEI 50-45 in the semifinals.

Gators’ Kevin Kao, who scored 11 points in the victory, picked up MVP honours.

“He is a competitor. He is not that big but he has a big heart,” Stead said about his point guard. “He did the job and is a worthy MVP winner.”

Trevor Duffin had a dozen points to lead Walnut Grove, including six in the fourth quarter, and was named a Fraser Valley all-star.

The Gators’ Callum Neily and Lord Tweedsmuir’s Joshua Limbasan were also all-stars.

Neily scored eight points, all in the first quarter, to pace the Gators to early lead, while Limbasan had a team-high nine points.

Both teams will play at the BC Grade 8 boys invitational provincial championships March 1 to 3 at Semiahmoo Secondary.

•••

Langley Christian also qualified for the Fraser Valley championship round, finishing in eighth spot.

The Lightning beat Pacific Academy 66-43 in the opening round and defeated Panorama Ridge 48-35 in the round of 16. They lost to the Gators in the quarter-finals before closing with 43-33 and 76-44 losses to the Howe Bulldogs and Matheson Mustangs, respectively.

Brookswood and Betty Gilbert both lost in the opening round.

The 21st-ranked ’Cats lost 46-37 to No. 12 Enver Creek while the No. 30 Raptors fell 65-37 to the No. 3 Mustangs.



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The Walnut Grove Gators are the Grade 8 Fraser Valley champions after defeating Lord Tweedsmuir in the championship game. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Just Posted

VIDEO: Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials holds annual open house

Pam and Tom Erikson have 17th annual charitable fundraiser at their private Langley garden

VIDEO: Open-to-all sprinter event for dogs comes to Langley

The second event of its kind in Canada since new rules were implemented

VIDEO: Riding against MS in Langley

MS Bike — Fraser Valley Experience collects more than $140,000

VIDEO: Langley City legendary water fight was a soaking good time

And perfectly timed for a hot weather warning

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Most Read