Kelowna Christian Knights are the single A high school boys’ basketball provincial champions. (Paul Yates - Vancouver Sports Pictures)

Knights win it all at basketball provincials, Owls and Coyotes grab 2nd

Okanagan high schools had a good run at the boys basketball provincials

After three Okanagan teams advanced to the tournament finals at the 2019 BC Boys High School Basketball Championships, only the Kelowna Christian Knights were able to secure top honours in their division.

Great runs from the Kelowna Secondary School Owls and Lake Country’s George Elliot Coyotes ended just short as both teams fell in the finals of their respective divisions to grab the silver medal at the tournament.

For the first place Knights, it was a redemption win after finishing fifth at last years championships.

“This year, we had a mission to not let that happen again,” said head coach Daniel Benson.

“We fought all year to get here and everyone put in extra hours.”

The Knights cruised to a 79-42 win over the Credo Christian Kodiaks, grabbing their sixth title in the last 12 years.

Kelowna’s Indy Hallet grabbed the tournament’s Championship Player of the Game with 17 points, while Colin Christophe won the single A division tournament’s MVP after a 23 point performance and an overall solid tournament outing.

Hallet was named to the tournament’s First Team All-Stars while teammate Josh Flood was named to the Second Team All-Stars.

READ MORE: Owls, Coyotes, Knights all advance to provincial finals

In the AAAA finals, it was a battle between the seven seed Owls and the nine seed Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, and though the Owls lead the finals by as much as 18 points, the Panthers showed no quit in a comeback 91-86 victory over Kelowna.

The Panthers comeback was fueled by a 25-0 run in the second half.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow because if we played some defence, we would have won that game, but that’s sport,” said Owls coach Harry Parmar. “We hit a wall, the boys wanted to do things, but the brains just couldn’t get it done.”

Kelowna drilled some late shots to get to back within three points of the Panthers, but Lord Tweedsmuir’s Arjun Samra, who won the tournament’s MVP honours, iced the game from the free throw line.

Owls’ Parker Johnstone continued his impressive point streak with 28 points in the finals, while Hunter Simson and Malcolm Greggor had 25 and 21 points respectively.

“We have to look at the positives, no one expected us to be there, and the kids have to be proud of what they did,” said Parmar.

“Last year we didn’t even make the provincials, so now we know how hard we need to work to get back to the championship game, and how hard we have to work to get that championship victory.”

Kelowna’s squad added some post-tournament honours with winning the Most Inspirational Team Award, Johnstone and Simson being named to the tournament’s First Team All-Stars, and Simson grabbing the Best Defensive Player Award.

The George Elliot Coyotes were bested by the top seed Charles Hays Rainmakers of Prince Rupert at the AA championships.

The Coyotes, the number two seed, had a stellar tournament run but ran into a well-coached Rainmakers in the finals and lost 78-51.

The Coyotes three-point shooting strategy that had worked well for them in the tournament, did not have the same effect against the Rainmakers.

“They took the line away from us,” said coach Dave Lafontaine. “But you have to hit the shots.”

Ben Hitchens led the Coyotes with 19 points, while Nic Lafontaine finished an impressive tournament outing with 10 points and was named to the tournament’s First Team All-Stars, while Hitchens was named to the Second Team All-Stars.

With the high school basketball season concluded, the Okanagan-based boys’ squads hauled in one gold medal and two silver medals.

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