The Credo Christian Kodiaks had no answer for the Cinderella story of the Ron Pettigrew Christian Lions.
The Kodiaks hung tough in the first quarter of Saturday’s B.C. 1A senior boys provincial basketball championship final at the Langley Events Centre, but foul trouble and some poor shooting did in Credo Christian as they fell 69-58.
The Lions were the tournament’s seventh seed and knocked off both the second-seed in the quarter-finals, the third-seed in the semifinals and the fourth-seed Kodiaks in the championship final to become the first boys basketball team at any level from Dawson Creek to win a provincial championship.
The only top seed not on their list was the No. 1 ranked Kelowna Christian Knights, who fell in Friday’s semifinals to Credo Christian.
In the championship final, the first quarter was close with the Lions taking a 15-10 lead after 10 minutes. But in the second quarter, the Lions seized control with a 23-9 burst for the 38-19 advantage.
The Kodiaks chipped away, cutting the lead from 19 to 13 after three quarters, but Credo Christian could not get the lead down to single digits.
Foul problems played a huge factor as Credo’s Levi Leyenhorst — a first team all-star — had to go to the bench in the second quarter with three fouls.
Total fouls were 18 for Credo Christian compared to just four for the Lions.
“(Foul trouble) hurt us a bit, but that is how the game goes,” said Kodiaks coach Justin Vanderploeg, who also picked up a technical foul late in the fourth quarter for asking the referees to call the game the same way for both teams.
“Fouls weren’t in our favour, but that’s fine, you get some and you lose some, that happens, that’s basketball,” he said.
Credo Christian advanced to the final after a huge second-half rally the day before, turning a 31-26 deficit into a 62-57 win over Kelowna Christian, the Knights first loss all season against a 1A school.
That win assured the Kodiaks of a top-two finish, a best-ever for the senior boys basketball program. They had twice before placed fourth in the province, including last season.
“It is a step in the right direction,” he said. “Until we win it, it is just another step. But it was nice to see the hard work pay off and get to the finals.”
“And I think it means a lot for the school.”
Vanderploeg admitted it is almost nicer to win the bronze medal game rather than lose the gold-medal championship final.
“My guys are mature, they handled (the loss) well,” he said. “After tonight, they will start remembering the nice moments of the season, the hard work they put in.”
In addition to Leyenhorst, Credo’s Dustin Flokstra was named a first team all-star.
Gary Ahuja Langley Times
Credo Christian Kodiaks’ Dustin Flokstra was named a first team all-star as his team finished second at the B.C. 1A senior boys provincial basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre.