One of the powers of B.C. A boys basketball for close to a decade, the Kelowna Christian Knights are back on top in 2015.
The Knights, ranked No. 5 heading into the provincial championship in Langley, turned aside the No. 2-ranked Immaculata Mustangs in an all-Kelowna final on Saturday in Langley.
Tournament MVP and 6-foot-3 senior Jesse Stewart was at the top of his game, scoring 15 points and, more importantly, pulling down a championship-high 23 rebounds as KCS claimed gold with a 59-46 victory.
KCS co-coach Dean Neufeld said the Knights’ success was due largely to the team’s work under and around the basket—particularly by Stewart.
“Rebounding was the difference,” said Neufeld. “(Co-coach) Tim Martens called it a
‘Party at the dump’…our guys got to the hoop and really cleaned up. Jesse (Stewart) led the way and was outstanding.”
The Knights were in control from the game’s early stages and led by 11 after the opening quarter. Immaculata was unable stem the rebounding tide of the Knights who out-boarded the Mustangs 69-47.
Owen Klucas, the tournament’s top defensive player, added 16 points and 13 rebounds for for KCS. Cruz Anderson also had 16 points in the victory.
Senior guard Michael Gini led Immaculata with 18 points, while Corbin Beauchemin had 15.
Anderson, Gini and Immaculata’s Riley Bruschinsky were all named to the tournament’s all-star team.
It was the fourth meeting of the season between the longtime rivals from Kelowna, with the Mustangs having won two of the first three—including the Okanagan Valley final.
But it was the Knights who delivered when it mattered most.
“It’s a great rivalry between these teams and (Mustangs’) coach Dino (Gini) does such a great job with that program, they’re aggressive and well-coached,” said Neufeld. “It was another showdown that we just found a way to come out on top of this time.”
It was Kelowna Christian’s fifth B.C. A title win since in eight seasons.
KCS also won the provincial 2A title in 2013.
The 2015 champs are: Carter Martens, Cruz Anderson, Ethan Van Dyk, Geo Woudwijk, Jackson Bourne, Jackson Cockwill, James Flood, Javen Davis, Jesse Stewart, Jordan Stewart, Nathan Christophe, Nathan Hettinga and Owen Klucas. The coaches are Tim Martens and Dean Neufeld.