From the opening tip-off, the Duchess Park Condors put the D.P. Todd Trojans in a hole. Forced to play catch-up, the Trojans never did get all the way back.
Wednesday night at the Northern Sport Centre, the Condors built an early lead and beat the Trojans 69-63 in the senior boys basketball city championship game. The Condors also topped the Trojans in last year's city final, so there was no redemption to be had for the D.P. Todd players.
The Condors started Wednesday's rematch, played in front of about 1,300 fans, with a three-pointer by Eric Kidwell. Nathanial Pawluk followed up with a deuce and then Luke Holmes knocked down a trey of his own. Duchess had a quick 8-0 advantage and was up 40-20 by half-time. The Trojans did challenge the favoured Condors in the second half but the game was never really out of Duchess Park's control.
"I think we came out probably a bit more relaxed in the first half than they did," said Condors coach Dave Holmes. "We have a few more players that have been in the city championship before but once [the Trojans] got over their nerves, they showed there's no quit in D.P. Todd."
The Condors still had a comfortable lead after three quarters, 53-38, but the Trojans made a big push in the fourth. In those last 10 minutes, they outscored Duchess Park 25-16.
With 11 seconds left, the Trojans got to within five points of the lead when Pontus Waara drilled a jump shot. The clock, however, was their enemy and they had to watch as Pawluk made one of two free throws to close out the game.
Ultimately, the Condors were more well-rounded on offence. They got 19 points from Grade 12 guard Montell Lindgren, while Grade 12 forwards Pawluk and Kidwell scored 16 and 14 respectively. Defensively, Kidwell was also a difference-maker.
"We came out really strong at the beginning of the game and I thought that was a key," Lindgren said. "D.P. Todd battled. They showed heart and they caught up with us but at the end of the game our experience really came out. We hit some free throws and Eric hit a couple big shots."
Waara, a Grade 12 exchange student from Sweden, paced the Trojans with 25 points. D.P. Todd's Pardeep Jaswal added 13.
Waara was proud of the Trojans' never-say-die attitude.
"We fought back well," he said. "We were down by 24 points or something and we were pretty strong to fight back from that.
"[The Condors] played very good," Waara added. "They came out definitely stronger than us and got us on our heels."
Duchess has won all of its games against D.P. Todd so far this season. The teams will likely clash again on the Feb. 22-23 weekend when Duchess Park hosts the double-A zone championship tournament. The Condors and Trojans will enter zones seeded first and second respectively.
The zone tournament is a qualifier for provincials, March 6-9 in Kamloops.
The Condors are currently ranked eighth in B.C.
The senior girls city championship game was also played Wednesday night at the NSC. In that one, the Cedars Christian School Eagles beat the PGSS Polars 60-54 for their second title in as many years.
2012-13 City All-Stars
Kayla Gordon, Cedars Christian; Hannah Pudlas, Cedars Christian; Emily Aase, PGSS; Jill Cole, PGSS; Mavia Nijjer, PGSS; Cassie Rerick, Duchess Park; Carly Shaw-MacLaren, Duchess Park; Tenley Pearce, D.P. Todd; Fiona Raymond, D.P. Todd; Chantel Nicholson, College Heights.
Luke Holmes, Duchess Park; Eric Kidwell, Duchess Park; Montell Lindgren, Duchess Park; Nathanial Pawluk, Duchess Park; Manni Dhemi, D.P. Todd; Pardeep Jaswal, D.P. Todd; Tanner Stephenson, D.P. Todd; Pontus Waara, D.P. Todd; Lucas Badial, College Heights; Nick Novak, PGSS.