It’s a steady diet of Fraser Valley opponents for Richmond teams at this week’s B.C. Boys Basketball Championships, including what could be an intriguing quarter-final match-up for the Steveston-London Sharks.
The city and Lower Mainland champions have earned the No. 2 seed in the AAA tier and will open play Wednesday afternoon (3:30 p.m.) against No. 15 Bodwell Bruins. A win over the North Vancouver school could set the stage for an Elite Eight showdown with No. 7 Robert Bateman.
It was the Abbotsford school that last defeated the Sharks at the Timberwolves' own tournament back in late January — an 85-69 quarter-final triumph.
Steveston-London rebounded from that defeat to steamroll through the playoffs and will head to the Langley Events Centre on a 10-game win streak. Bateman went on to stun top ranked Rick Hansen by 35 points in league play, before cooling off to lose the playoff rematch by 19 then finish third at last weekend’s Fraser Valley Championships.
“We definitely weren't at our best and it was an especially tough night for our starters,” recalled Sharks head coach Mike Stoneburgh. “We had been rolling pretty good and our guys were guilty of of getting too far ahead of themselves.
“We had a get together to watch the (provincial) draw (telecast) and all our guys were talking about after was the (potential) Bateman game. I reminded them our only focus right now is going through Bodwell first. That’s the only team I am worrying about right now.”
Bateman is no lock to reach the quarter-final either. The Wolves face No. 10 seed Valleyview of Kamloops in their opening game.
Meanwhile, the upstart 14th seed McNair Marlins will be looking to continue to thrive in the underdog role against No. 3 Rick Hansen.
With just one senior logging significant minutes, the young Marlins are making their third straight appearance at the provincials after earning the fourth and final seed at the Lower Mainland Championships. Tip-off against the Hurricanes is slated for noon.
In the AA draw, the Cambie Crusaders have earned the No. 7 seed and will have a tough opponent right out of the gate in No. 10 Abbotsford Christian.
What the Crusaders have going for them is being battle tested through the entire playoffs, starting with a hard-fought quarter-final loss to RC Palmer back on the opening day of the Richmond Championships.
They still found their way to the Mainland tournament where they upset top seed King George in the semi-finals before dropping a thriller to St. Pats.
The Crusaders and Abbotsford Christian will meet at 6:45 p.m.
Both Championship draws continue through to Saturday with all games at the Langley Events Centre.