Leading by two points over the North Delta Huskies in the dying seconds left in Friday’s semifinal playoff, the Duchess Park Condors had a berth in final slip through their fingertips at the B.C. triple-A boys basketball championship in Langley.
Suraj Gahir took the ball on the in-bound play with just 9.2 seconds to work with and sunk a three-pointer off the backboard which gave the Huskies a one-point lead. The Condors called their time-out and got the ball to Soren Erricson with two seconds left and his shot bounced twice off the rim and out, ending the Condors’ dream of winning a provincial banner.
“It was definitely a heartbreaker,” said the 17-year-old Erricson. “We didn’t want it to end, this thing we’ve been building up since Grade 9. We had a junior team that went to provincials and finished 31 out of 32 and ever since then we’ve put on the hard hats and put some work in and built up to this Grade 12 year for us seniors.
“It was a bit of a lucky bank shot to end our season.”
Erricson had just enough time to get his shot off before the buzzer.
“We drew up a play we actually practiced the week before provincials and I came off a baseline screen and grabbed the ball and put up a shot and it went rim-to-rim and right out,” he said. “It was pretty devastating.”
Duchess Park trailed by five points with 2:45 left when Condors guard Caleb Lyons hit the first of back-to-back threes. His second long shot cut the Huskies’ lead to 59-58 with 1:32 left. Jackson Kuc them hit two free throws with about 20 seconds left, the first foul shots of the game the Huskies allowed. Then Lyons went 1-for-2 from the foul line for a 61-59 Condor lead, which set the stage for Gahir.
Condor senior guard Dan Zimmerman, until he fouled out with about three minutes left, drew the assignment of shadowing the six-foot-five Gahir and was able to limit the damage he was capable of causing.
“The only way we would have stuck in that game was Dan Zimmerman played ridiculously stellar defence on what people would consider as one of the best players in the province in Suraj Gahir. He kept us in that game and without him we wouldn’t have even been close.”
Duchess Park did not home empty-handed. The Condors went on to defeat A.R. MacNeill of Richmond 75-54 for bronze. North Delta beat Vernon 46-44 in the gold-medal game.
Emir Zejnulahovic led the Condors with 16 points and eight rebounds. Zimmerman had 11 points and five assists and Erricson put up 10 points.
Meanwhile, in the double-A boys championship, also in Langley, the D.P. Todd Trojans defeated Westsyde of Kamloops 68-59 on Saturday to finish seventh at the 16-team tournament. Cameron Sale accounted for half the Trojans’ offence with 34 points. He also had seven rebounds and forced six turnovers. Saager Shergill contributed nine points for D.P. Todd.
The Trojans began the tournament ranked second, but lost their quarterfinal 91-74 to George Eliot of Lake Country. George Eliot went on to lose in the final 71-51 to the Charles Hays Rainmakers of Prince Rupert.
At the single-A boys championship in Langley, the Cedars Christian Eagles placed eighth, losing their final playoff 77-43 to Kelowna Christian. Northside Christian of Vanderhoof finished ninth after a 74-54 win over Gudangaay Tiasstsigaa Naay of Masset.