Basketball fans received an early preview of next month’s March Madness.
W.J. Mouat Hawks’ Prav Gill nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer as the No. 6 seed knocked off the No. 3 Walnut Grove Gators 78-75 on Monday night, and setting off a wild celebration in front of the Mouat bench.
It was Gill’s only made field goal of the game and it marked a stunning turnaround for Mouat, which never led until the game’s final buzzer.
The Hawks, who trailed by 17 points at one point in the second half of the game held in front of a boisterous crowd at Walnut Grove Secondary.
Walnut Grove led 28-13 after one quarter and 46-28 at the half. But Mouat clawed back, cutting the deficit to 63-54 after three quarters before outscoring the Gators by a two-to-one margin over the final quarter, 24-12.
The victory advances Mouat to the Fraser Valley 4A semifinals while the Gators need to win their next game to stay alive in hopes of playing next month at the BC4A senior boys provincial championships at the Langley Events Centre.
Harvir Garcha led Mouat with 24 points while Dhivaan Bhogal finished with 17 points, including eight in the fourth quarter.
Walnut Grove was led by James Woods’ 26 points while Alasdair Coyle had 21 points.
The two teams have now played four times — including three times in the past two weeks — with each winning twice.
Mouat now faces No. 2 Semiahmoo in the Fraser Valley semifinals with winner facing the victor between No. 1 Tamanawis and No. 5 Lord Tweedsmuir.
The Fraser Valley championship final is set for Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
Walnut Grove faces an elimination game on Feb. 21 at Fleetwood Park against No. 8 Guildford Park.
Should the Gators win, they can finish anywhere between fifth and eighth and the top seven advance to the provincial championships.