The RC Palmer Griffins will attempt to secure one final trip to Kamloops this week and they will be doing it as seven-time Richmond Senior Boys Basketball League champions.
The Griffins head to the Lower Mainland AA Championships at King George secondary in Vancouver with plenty of momentum after securing their record-tying seventh straight title. After finishing fourth in regular season play, Palmer played its best basketball when it mattered the most, producing three straight wins last week, including a 91-81 victory over the host Burnett Breakers in front of a capacity crowd last Friday.
"I am very proud of these boys," commented head coach Paul Eberhardt. "Many people doubted us that we would bounce back and win it again but the boys showed great heart and played incredible basketball when it counted most."
The difference proved to be Palmer's explosive first half as they managed 37 points in the opening quarter and took a commanding 60-37 lead into the intermission. The Griffins were lethal beyond the arc, hitting seven three-pointers in the first quarter alone.
"That was one of the most impressive halves I have seen a Palmer team play," continued Eberhardt. "We had five different players hit three-point shots."
The Breakers showed why they lost just once in league play by storming back with a terrific third quarter, outscoring the defending champs 24-8.
However, they never could get closer than seven points as Palmer always seemed to come up with a key basket to slow the momentum.
Senior Jamie Madewan made his final game in Richmond a memorable one with a game-high 35 points. He also had 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Madewan, who came off the bench as a Grade 10 to have a key role in the provincial final two years earlier, was later named the Richmond League MVP. Antonio Jhuty added 30, while Justin Wong had 26 for Burnett.
Palmer's road to the final began with a 91-81 win over the Richmond Colts, then a 80-66 victory against regular season champion McMath. Burnett advanced with wins over Steveston-London (74-44) and McRoberts (70-51).
The Griffins now turn their attention to attempting to earn a spot in the provincial "AA" tournament which will be held in Kamloops for the final time before the tourney shifts to the Langley Events Centre in 2014.
Two berths will be on the line at the Lower Mainland tourney with St Thomas More, King George and Notre Dame expected to be the Griffins' main challengers. McRoberts, MacNeill and Hugh Boyd are also part of the eight team tourney.
Meanwhile, the Breakers and McMath are should be very much in the mix at the Lower Mainland "AAA" Championships with five B.C. berths on the line. Provincially ranked
Kitsilano, St. Georges and Churchill will be heavily favoured to earn three of them but the other two spots are wide open.
As Richmond No. 1, the Breakers have been seeded fourth and will host No. 5 Churchill on Thursday at 7: 30 p.m. McMath opened play yesterday against Tupper.
AT THE BUZZER...
The hard luck team of this year's city championships proved to be the McNair Marlins. In arguably the most competitive tournament in its near 20year history, the Marlins saw their season come to an end with a 73-70 loss to McMath for the final Lower Mainland "AAA" berth.