It was retro night for the boys title game at the 12th annual Bob Carkner Memorial Classic with the depth of the Richmond Senior Boys Basketball League this season on full display.
The host Sharks are champions for the first time in three years after a 77-60 win over the Hugh Boyd Trojans last Saturday. It was also the first all-Richmond final since the two rivals seemed to meet on a regular basis during the tournament’s infant years.
Steveston-London closed out the opening half with back-to-back threes from Jalen Johal and Jas Sidhu to erase a 32-31 deficit then opened the third quarter with a 15-2 run to take control for good.
“My big (halftime) message was the first three minutes are going to tell the whole story,” said Sharks head coach Mike Stoneburgh. “They hit one bucket then we went on bit of a run there and that was the big turning point I think.”
Johal went on to score a game-high 23 points as the 6-foot-6 senior showcased his athleticism all over the court.
“He is a great player and it’s funny watching teams guarding him because they don’t think he will shoot the three where he is actually our best percentage wise,” continued Stoneburgh. “He is a massive importance to us. A bunch of teams don’t have 6-foot-6 big that can take away that drive to the hoop. He puts a lot of time into both aspects of the game.”
Jhonelle Vergara added 19 and Logan Nelson 13 on their way to earning first team all-star honours.
As for the Trojans, they came away with much more than a runner-up trophy. The province’s No. 6 ranked team at the 2A level knocked off a pair of 3A honourable mentions — Lord Byng (73-55) and Byrne Creek (80-73) — to reach the final. That difficult road seemed to have taken its toll by Saturday night in what was probably their worst shooting game of the season. Yet they still were within 12 points early in the fourth quarter.
Nick Berda, Jason Grewal and Cory Miester all were first team all-star selections. Payton Hinds scored a team high 14 points while Grewal added 13.
Norm Schultz’s squad is a good bet to earn a provincial berth for the first time in recent memory. They also will be right in the mix as the host school at the Richmond Championships, joining the Sharks, MacNeill Ravens, McMath Wildcats and Richmond Colts as the top contenders.
“I think we are all worried about Boyd. They can stretch the floor with Jason, Nick and Payton on the outside and Cory on the inside,” added Stoneburgh.
“I’m excited with what’s ahead for us. You could see coaches and players (from other teams) in the stands tonight. It shows you have a program and they want to be prepared. It’s going to be fun and stressful too!”