New zone rough on Richmond teams

Without tiering city teams get steady diet of large schools in Junior and Grade 8 zone playoffs

More favourable for senior teams and not so much for the younger age levels.

That’s the early review for Richmond basketball teams in the new South Fraser Zone.

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After years of being part of the Vancouver and District Zone (Richmond, Burnaby, New West and North Shore), city teams got their first taste of Surrey and Delta opponents in last week’s inaugural South Fraser Championships.

It was a rough reception.

Where senior teams have the benefit of being tiered with similar size schools for the playoffs, that’s isn’t the case for junior and Grade 9 and Grade 8. Surrey happens to be loaded with 4A size secondary schools.

The end result was Richmond teams being kept off the podium in the junior and Grade 8 tournaments.

After going unbeaten from start to finish to win the city junior boys title, the MacNeill Ravens were bounced 72-55 by Enver Creek in the opening round. 

It proved to be a harsh match-up with the sixth place Surrey school going on to win the title over Fleewood Park in the final.

Steveston-London and Burnett also were eliminated in the opening round with losses to Fleetwood (81-54) and Elgin Park (84-37) respectively.

Richmond runners-up McMath did manage to have some success, defeating Delta (59-55) in the opening round before falling Fleetwood (52-45). 

The Wildcats then defeated Delta champion Seaquam (65-52) before dropping a 52-38 decision to Lord Tweedsmuir in the fifth place game.

The Wildcats and Ravens could have strong cases to earn wild card berths into the BC Junior Boys Championships, slated for Feb 22-25 at the Langley Events Centre.

McMath reached the third place game at the South Fraser Junior Girls tourney before losing 55-46 to Holy Cross. Earlier wins came against Fraser Heights (42-34) and South Delta (54-50) after opening with a 61-30 loss to runner-up Seaquam.

All three Richmond entries were given lower seeds for the South Fraser Grade 8 Boys Championships and were bounced in the opening round.

City champion and host McMath fell 60-54 to Panorama. McRoberts dropped a 58-39 decision to Pacific Academy and eventual champion Fleetwood Park defeated Steveston-London 69-21.

The Grade 8 girls tourney at McRoberts Secondary saw McMath duplicate their city final win over the host Strikers in the second round, this time by a 37-30 margin.

The Wildcats then closed out the tourney with a pair of losses to Delta schools to finish fourth. Falling 51-20 to eventual champion Burnsview in the semi-finals and 64-37 to South Delta in the third place game.

The Grade 9 boys and girls tournaments go this week in Delta.

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