One of the best court side high school basketball announcers in the Lower Mainland won’t be available for the Richmond senior boys championship game and Mike Stoneburgh couldn’t be more happy about it.
The long-time Steveston-London head coach and his Sharks are heading back to the city title game after a 75-65 semi-final win over the defending champion Richmond Colts last night. The Sharks will take on the McMath Wildcats next Thursday (7:30 p.m.) at Hugh Boyd.
It was an 8-0 third quarter run that sent Steveston-London onto victory. The Colts had tied the game at 37-37, only to surrender back-to-back three pointers to Logan Nelson and Nao Kawano. A Jhnoelle Vergara lay-up completed the mini-run.
The teams had met last week in league play with the Sharks pulling out a wild 107-98 win that secured second place. This time they relied on a much better effort defensively.
“I told the guys before the game tonight if we just play defence we will be alright,” said Stoneburgh. “We didn’t play defence last time and had to go gunslinger and managed to outscore them. We did really good job on (Grade 11 standout) Amranis (Ilciukas) and made sure Jonathan (Hu) and Jason (Zhong) didn’t hurt us.”
The Sharks’ depth was on full display too.
Kawano and Vergara sat for extended minutes in the opening half. They were going to be brought back as soon as their team lost the lead. It didn’t happen thanks to the fine play of Grade 10 Vincent Zeng and Grade 11 Brady Wong.
Nelson led the Sharks with 20 points. Jalen Johal added 16.
Now Stoneburgh has the luxury of a week to prepare for the third meeting of the season with the Wildcats. They initially met in consolation play at the Chancellor Tournament and in league play two weeks ago. McMath won both meetings.
“We don’t like each other,” smiled Stoneburgh of his team’s biggest rival. “The league game was packed at McMath and I expect nothing less here next Thursday as well. “(McMath head coach) Jon (Acob) is my mentor and I’m going up against him. It’s going to be fun.
“We know they like to run but we can do that too with a bigger team. I’m going to be looking at a lot of game film and we’ll spend a couple of days at practice last week doing only McMath stuff,” he said.
The Colts will play the 2A McNair Marlins in consolation play next Wednesday but, more importantly is their eventual meeting with the MacNeill Ravens. That game will determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds out of Richmond for the South Fraser 3A Zone Championships.
The No. 4 seed will face the Sur-Del League fifth place finisher in a play-in game for the final spot in the eight-team tournament.