When Walnut Grove Gators coach Jon Fast spoke to his players in the locker room at half-time of the championship game, he was blunt.
The coach didn’t sugarcoat what he saw, which was a dismal offensive performance that saw his team scored just six points in the first quarter and 17 in the half.
Not what one would expect from the top seed in the junior boys Langley district championship tournament.
But on the flip side, Fast had to be impressed by the defence displayed by his Gators team, which held the Brookswood Bobcats to two points in the first quarter and just 11 in the opening 16 minutes.
“In the first half, we missed around eight lay-ups and six free throws,” Fast said.
“That’s 22 points left off the board in a final. I am not happy with that.”
“But I also told them, that was probably the best defensive half of basketball I had seen.”
Walnut Grove did find its offensive game in the second half, hitting a trio of three-pointers on their way to a 41-30 victory on Thursday night at the Langley Events Centre.
“It’s only a matter of time until you find someone who heats up,” Fast said.
And for the Gators, that was Andrew McKay, who finished with 20 points, including a trio of three-pointers.
Brookswood was led by Michael Pratt and Doug Kwiatkoski, who both had 10 points apiece.
The win was the fifth straight year Walnut Grove has won the junior boys’ district title.
The Bobcats had the lead cut down to as few as five points in the fourth quarter, but the Gators had an answer reach time. Brookswood was also done in by poor foul shooting as they missed eight free throws in the final period alone.
“Brookswood plays hard every time; I respect that,” Fast said.
The teams were the top two seeds for the playoffs and during league play earlier this month, Walnut Grove defeated Brookswood 56-34.
And in the semifinals, the Gators beat Langley Fundamental in the semifinals while Brookswood beat Langley Christian.
Langley Christian won the third place game 55-49 over Langley Fundamental and all four advance to the 32-team Fraser Valley regional championships.
“For me, this is my most multi-dimensional team that I have ever had at Walnut Grove,” Fast said, pointing to the fact his 18-player team boasts depth.
“We have a bunch of guys who all have the ability to light it up.”
Walnut Grove is seeded third and will host No. 30 Samuel Roberts Technical in the opening round on Feb. 18.
Brookswood, which is No. 11 faces No. 22 Enver Creek at Heritage Woods while Langley Christian (No. 25) plays at Lord Tweedsmuir (No. 8) and Langley Fundamental (No. 26) plays at Semiahmoo (No. 7).
The top eight teams will play in the championship round from Feb. 21 to 23 at Walnut Grove Secondary.