Richmond standouts lead Falcons into Nationals

Antonio Jhuty and Royce Sargeant are back at the Langley Events Centre this week

They were two of the biggest stars in the Richmond Senior Boys Basketball League that are now looking for more magic at the Langley Events Centre.

Antonio Jhuty was a scoring machine at RC Palmer — capping his high school career back in 2014 by leading the Griffins to their eight consecutive city championship and a fourth place finish at the BC 2A tournament where he was a First Team All-Star selection.

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Royce Sargeant led the McNair Marlins on a late season charge to a berth into the B.C 3A Championships that year. Numerous clutch performances earned him the city MVP award. “They were known as the McRoyce Marlins back then,” laughed Jhuty.

The pair now have leading roles with the Langara Falcons who host this week’s Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Championships at the LEC.

Jhuty has continued his high-scoring ways, ranking third in the PACWEST Conference by averaging 24 points per game. Sargeant’s all-round game has been on full display. He ranked in the top 10 in points (16), rebounds (eight) and assists (5.67).

The Falcons practiced at the LEC for the first time last week in preparation for Thursday’s quarter-final match-up with Atlantic champion and No. 1 ranked Holland Hurricanes at 7:30 p.m.

Langara finished 9-9 in conference play and was edged by Camosun in the opening round of the provincial playoffs. That meant a tough draw for the hosts in the eight tournament.

“I have very good memories here and it’s good to be back,” said Jhuty who scored 49 in his final high school game at the LEC. “We wanted to go far in the provincial playoffs because of the national seeding but it is what it is.”

Sargeant doesn’t have such fond memories of the LEC. The Marlins led their opening round game against Wellington by 15 at the half but lost to the Nanaimo school and eventually placed 14th. Still, the talented guard has gone on to post impressive numbers at the next level.

“The pace of the game is fine for me at this level because I like to play fast,” he said. “Adjusting to the strength of the players you are up against has been the biggest thing.”

There is more Richmond flavour to Falcons including head coach Paul Eberhardt who enjoyed plenty of success at the high school level at Palmer and McNair. Timmie Choi is another Palmer grad on the roster while Joey Dhillon (Palmer) and Elliot Mason (Burnett) are part of Eberhardt’s staff.

It definitely provides a comfort zone for Jhuty who initially began his post-secondary career at the University of the Fraser Valley before being re-united with Eberhardt. He still has another year of eligibility remaining, while Sargeant is just in his second season with the team. 

“He is my guy,” said Jhuty of his coach. “He is always in my corner and I am definitely in his.”

The CCAA Championships will conclude with the final on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Upper Island University are the B.C. champions participating. 

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