McMath sprints past MacNeill for junior boys title

Wildcats rely on quickness and terrific defence to cap perfect run in Richmond play

The Richmond Junior Boys Basketball title tilt on Thursday at Cambie Secondary was all about speed and the McMath Wildcats wouldn’t want it any other way.

In a game that took just over an hour to play, the Wildcats blitzed their way to city bragging rights with a 59-45 win against the MacNeill Ravens in a battle of provincially ranked top 10 teams.

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McMath used its athleticism to utilize an effective zone press that gave the Ravens fits throughout the contest. Following a low scoring opening quarter, the Wildcats took control with a 16-5 run and enjoyed 28-11 lead into halftime.

Some effective three-point shooting was added in the third quarter when McMath exploded for 23 points to take a 51-22 advantage into the final eight minutes.

“This group has bought into the system,” said McMath head coach Jon Acob. “They believe in team basketball and the defensive stuff. Their pressure is great. 

“It doesn’t matter who scores because they know everyone has the green light to shoot. It’s a very fun group to coach. “

The Wildcats gained additional firepower when standouts Travis Hamberger and Rio Hutchful re-joined the junior team from the senior ranks.

“Talking to a lot of people, we thought it would be better for them to have success at the junior level and have a good shot at winning a provincial championship,” added Acob.

Michael Kitka and Hutchful led McMath with 15 each. Hamberger added 10.

The victory capped a perfect run in Richmond play that included a 10-0 regular season record and a 62-51 won over the Ravens back on Jan 16.

McMath opened the city playoffs with a 71-23 win over Richmond High, before defeating Boyd 69-53 in the semi-finals. MacNeill’s road to the final included victories against Palmer (51-31) and Steveston-London (47-41).

The Wildcats and Ravens head to the Vancouver and District Championships next week at Burnaby South. Third place finish Steveston-London can join them with a wild card win over Handsworth on Monday.

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