The King George Dragons packed their West End Dragons’ Lair for a senior boys basketball Lower Mainland AA semi-final against the Palmer Griffins Wednesday night. But home court advantage and a boisterous crowd weren’t enough to push the Dragons to victory as they fell 68-79.
The Dragons jumped to a quick 8-16 lead in the first quarter but Palmer picked apart the advantage and finished the frame with a 27-24 edge. Palmer spread that lead to eight points by the half but the Griffins head coach Paul Eberhardt said they never felt at ease.
“It was a very intense game,” he said. “The crowd here is loud and the game felt closer than the score. It was never comfortable.”
The Griffins increased their lead in the third quarter and scored eight unanswered points during an 18-7 run. By the end of the frame, the Dragons trailed by 20 points.
King George coach Darko Kulic tried to fire up his team. During a time-out he shouted in the huddle, “Do we want this? Do we want this?” The Dragons screamed back that, yes, they did.
On 15 three-point shots in the second half, the Dragons sunk only three. Their shooting from the field wasn’t much stronger and they scored 10 points off 17 shots in the second half.
Palmer was more consistent and scored 16 points off 13 attempts from the field in the second half. They went three for 13 from deep.
At press time Thursday, the Dragons’ season wasn’t over. Palmer advanced to the zone championship Thursday night against the Notre Dame Jugglers. If Palmer won, the Dragons can challenge Notre Dame for the second berth to Provincials.
The Dragons must first have won their consolation game Thursday against St. Thomas More. Results weren’t known before the Courier’s print deadline.