The Pitt Meadows Marauders’ season ended on a losing note Saturday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre.
The Marauders fell 68-63 to the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs in the game deciding 13th and 15th place at the 2013 B.C. senior boys Triple A basketball championship.
“Today we just weren’t ready to play at the level of the opponent,” Marauders veteran head coach Rich Goulet said, moments after the final buzzer sounded. “And when it [the Marauders raising their level] happened we came back and made a game of it.”
Ultimately, Pitt Meadows Secondary’s squad, playing its fourth game in as many days, lost its mojo at the 68th edition of the prestigious tournament.
The Bulldogs outscored the Marauders 30-15 during the second quarter and 40-24 in the first half in the LEC’s centre gymnasium. Despite a fourth quarter in which Pitt Meadows had a distinct 23-13 advantage in points, the canyon-sized hole they found themselves in was far too deep.
“We just didn’t come out nearly strong enough,” said Grade 12 guard Sebastien Marshall. “We came out flat. We came out like we’re going to lose, and we lost.”
In the final game of his high school career, centre Jordan Rich led the Marauders with 16 points. Grade 12 guard Sanj Toor (13 points) and Grade 10 forward Graham Smith (10 points) also reached double digits in scoring for Pitt Meadows.
Bulldogs star Mindy Minhas scored a game-high 21 points.
Pitt Meadows bookmarked a pair of losses to the Bulldogs – they were edged 67-64 in overtime to open the tourney Tuesday – with one-sided wins Wednesday versus Burnaby Mountain Lions and Thursday against the Mount Baker Wild.
Goulet was candid when assessing his team’s overall performance at the B.C.’s.
“We didn’t play very well,” he said. “Not compared to past years.”
The Marauders enjoyed a resurgence in January, then struggled with injuries that kept the walking wounded from training.
“You could see that as we were coming in here,” Goulet said. “We weren’t quite the same as we were when we won the Fraser Valley North league.”
Marshall said the Marauders weren’t able to play to their potential.
“I thought we could play better, but that happens, sometimes,” he said. “We were probably pretty tired. We played some pretty tough ball coming into the tournament. I guess it’s kind of bittersweet.”
The Marauders’ opening day loss to the Bulldogs was filled with drama. With just seconds left on the clock and his team down 61-58, Pitt Meadows’ Alejandro Canjura picked off a pass before tossing up a shot from just past half-court. The ball arced into the hoop to tie the score at 61 with 3.3 seconds remaining and sent the game into overtime. The Bulldogs outscored the Marauders 6-3 during the extra session.
The loss meant the Marauders were pushed out of medal contention and were playing for pride over the next three days of the tourney. In a way, the setback took some pressure off the players.
“As much as we would have loved to win, we would have had to play [B.C.’s No. 1-ranked team and provincial finalist] Walnut Grove and we would have had to regain our focus,” Marshall said. “We lost so we had to accept that fact, and then we just started playing basketball, and that was a lot of fun. We got to enjoy the tournament a little bit more.”
Marauders 67, Burnaby Mountain Lions 47
After their overtime loss to the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs last Tuesday, the Marauders took their frustrations out on their next two opponents.
Pitt Meadows trailed the Burnaby Mountain Lions 28-27 at halftime last Wednesday afternoon before taking control in the second half in a 67-47 victory.
Leading 46-42 after three quarters, the Marauders owned the fourth stanza, out-scoring the Lions 21-5.
Rich had another fine game for Pitt Meadows, scoring 29 points while blocking five shots.
Marshall tallied 21 points for the winners.
Marauders 75, Mount Baker Wild 19
In a game that got underway at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning, the Mount Baker Wild received a jolting wake-up call from the Marauders.
Pitt Meadows dominated from start to finish, leading 35-10 at halftime and never loosening the grip, outscoring Mount Baker 25-5 in the third quarter and 15-4 in the fourth to win 75-19.
Quickly realizing the Wild was overmatched, Goulet used his entire bench. The result was a very balanced attack with four players hitting double figures in points.
Smith led the way with 13 points, while Canjura had 12. Rich (11 points) and guard Enzo Tadeo (10 points) were the other Marauders scoring in double figures.
In total, 13 Marauders scored two points or more.