Griffins Fight Back to Win First Ever Provincial Championship

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Top Performers

R.C Palmer:

  • Vijay Dhillon-26 points, 4 rebounds

  • Ranjodh Hare-13 points, 17 rebounds

Vancouver College:

  • Vince Tolentino-20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists

  • Reiner Theil- 16 points, 11 rebounds

LANGLEY, BC–Okay, Paul Eberhardt, you have won. Your team has done it. You have your provincial championship, now you can relax and take a nice, long and well deserved vacation to work on your impressive beard.

The R.C. Palmer Griffins captured their first ever British Columbia provincial championship in Boys AAA Basketball Saturday night by defeating the Vancouver College Fighting Irish 71-63. The first place finish comes during the school’s fourth trip to the provincial tournament, and first since rejoining the AAA ranks. The team finished second in AA last year.

For the Irish, it is another disappointment for one of the most prestigious programs in the province. This being Vancouver College’s 46th appearance in the provincial tournament, it shares the record for most provincial titles won with five, but its last victory came all the way back in 1967.

The game was a fast-paced, back-and-forth affair. However, the Griffins did not make it easy on themselves.

“We got off to a great start,” said assistant coach Jeremy Alexander. “We made some defensive adjustments that have worked for us.”

If you were to tell anyone during the first six minutes that Palmer was going to pull off the victory, you owuld sound foolish. The Irish got off to a flying start, at one point during the first quarter they led by as many as 16 when the score was a one-sided 18-2. Palmer appeared slow and tired from a tightly fought contest against Terry Fox the night before. However, an increase in defensive intensity and some hot shooting from grade 10 standout Jamie Madewan kept the Griffins in it. Madewan hit three from long range late in the Q, when he came on for Maziar Arjmandi who picked up two quick fouls. The end of the quarter saw Vancouver College ahead 20-13 however.

The shooting of Madewan seemed to spark the Griffins, who woke up during the second quarter. Some more shooting from Madewan and senior guard Vijay Dhillon and tremendous rebounding from Ranjodh Hare pulled Palmer to within a single point, 33-32, at halftime.

The battle between Hare and fellow grade 12 Vincent Tolentino was by far the highlight of the match. With each possession becoming increasingly relevant, the two seniors picked up their game significantly.

“We need to secure those rebounds,” Alexander also commented. “We got to secure them and get back to playing our game.”

What proved to be the game was the third quarter however. The Griffins outscored the Irish 21-9 as Vancouver College continued to force tough shots. Tolentino tried all game to keep his team in it, but he was out matched by the trio of Dhillon, Hare and senior forward Michael Zayas, who combined for all of the Griffins 21 points during the frame.

Give props to the Irish, who never quit. They worked hard for a miracle, as guards Reiner Theil and Erickson Evangelista scored eight and six points respectively during the final stretch. But clutch free throw shooting from Dhillon and fellow senior Bill Cheng sealed the deal for the Griffins.

Vijay Dhillon led the way for R.C Palmer with 25 points. The Irish were led by Tolentino who potted 20 of his own along with 10 boards.

It was a good night for basketball, NPH can’t wait for next year!

PHOTO COURTESY: RON HOLE

NPH Awards

NPH MVP: Vijay Dhillon

NPH First Team All-Stars:

Gurminder Kang – W.J. Mouat

Billy Cheng – R.C. Palmer

Bret MacDonald – Terry Fox

Vijay Dhillon – R.C. Palmer

Reiner Theil – Vancouver College

NPH Second Team All-Stars:

Isiah Solomon – Vancouver College

Ranjodh Hare – R.C. Palmer

Malcolm Williams – Pitt Meadows

Cameron Smythe – Sir Charles Tupper

Vincent Tolentino – Vancouver College

 

Tournament Awards

MVP: Vijay Dhillon

First Team All-Stars:

Gurminder Kang – W.J. Mouat

Bret MacDonald – Terry Fox

Vijay Dhillon – R.C. Palmer

Reiner Theil – Vancouver College

Ranjodh Hare – R.C. Palmer

Second Team All-Stars:

Malcolm Williams – Pitt Meadows

Isiah Solomon – Vancouver College

Scott Hind – Terry Fox

Cameron Smythe – Sir Charles Tupper

Bill Cheng – R.C. Palmer

Third Team All-Stars:

Drake Downer – Oak Bay

Daniel Edwards – Burnaby South

Mike Zayas – R.C. Palmer

Mitchell Ligertwood – Heritage Woods

Paul Getz – Walnut Grove

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