R.C Palmer: Vijay Dhillon-25 points
Terry Fox: Matt Trimbe-17 points
LANGLEY, BC–The second semi final game at the Langley Events Center saw a fantastic match-up between the Terry Fox Ravens and the RC Palmer Griffins. This being the 15th time at the provincial tournament for the Ravens, they would be looking for their third provincial banner, their first since they won back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994. For the Griffins, they have been strong in recent years. This year marks their return to AAA competition after they finished second in AA last year.
The game got off to a remarkable start with both teams finding their marks. The teams traded baskets for the first half of the first quarter. However that would stop dramatically. Both teams brought up the defensive pressure near the end of the first, however the Ravens were able to chip away a lead. They would lead 19-10 at the end of one.
During the first half, the seniors for the Ravens stepped up their game considerably. Bret MacDonald, Matt Trimble and Scott Hind all had monster first halves, as they scored 11, 10 and nine points respectively. They were also boosted by grade 11 standout Ryan Sclater who chipped in 11 points in the first half.
Palmer, however was not going to go down quietly, as they continued to chip away at the Ravens’ lead. At one point during the first half, Terry Fox led by as many as 11 points. That lead was brought down to five as the second quarter ended with the Ravens on top 34-29. Vijay Dhillon led the way for RC Palmer with eight points while fellow grade 12 stars, Mike Zayas and Billy Cheng were relatively quiet, scoring only five points each.
“It was a good first half for us,” commented Terry Fox assistant coach Mike Hind at halftime. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep it up in the second half.”
There is an old saying in basketball that says, “You live by the 3-pointer, you die by the 3-pointer”. Well the story of the third quarter for the Griffins would be their 3-point shooting, and thankfully for them, it would lead to life. With the Griffins struggling to hit from inside, with Trimble and Sclater holding down the lane, Palmer began to rely on the outside shooting, and it paid dividends for them. Dhillon and fellow senior, Maziar Arjmandi sparked a shooting display I have not seen in quite some time. Arjmandi hit four three point shots and Dhillon had two of his own.
This shooting display surged the Griffins past the Ravens who struggled to keep up with the lights out shooting RC Palmer. The Ravens would fight, scratch and claw during each possession and finally pot two points, but then Palmer would race down and hit a quick three. The Griffins almost equaled their first half scoring output in the third quarter alone, scoring 28 points. They would lead going into the final quarter 57-54.
Defense took over in the fourth quarter. Both sides did not want to give the other easy looks and each team battled hard under the glass. Brett MacDonald would try to lead his team to a comeback, but in the fourth, it was Zayas, Dhillon and Cheng who would step up, as they have all year long, and close out the Ravens. Zayas scored eight points in the fourth and Dhillon seven. Cheng was everywhere on the court, coming up with almost every loose ball.
Vijay Dhillon showed why he is considered one of the best players in BC, scoring 25 points as the games high man. Zayas and Maziar Arjmandi each potted 15 and Billy Cheng finished with eight as the RC Palmer Griffins will make their first ever trip to the finals with a final score of 77-66.
The Ravens were led by a very balanced attack. Matt Trimble was the high man for Terry Fox with 17 points. MacDonald, Hind and Sclater contributed 16 points each. The shooting of the Griffins came up clutch in this game, which resulted in the victory.
The Griffins will play the Vancouver College Fighting Irish tomorrow night at 8:00 pm for the provincial championship. Terry Fox will face the W.J. Mouat Hawks for third. That game will take place at 6:00 pm.
PHOTO COURTESY: RON HOLE