The X-Falcons had a chance to join The School as the only team in Hoopfest history to three-peat as champions and break the tie for second overall with the Runnin’ Rebels and Athelite with multiple championships. However the absence of the reigning champs from the annual summer run left the door open for a new team to plant their flag on top of the mountain.
Returning to the Langley Events Centre after a one year absence, the anniversary edition of the tournament tipped off with Tribe (formally known as Mixed Panthers) riding a 13-0 late second half run to make up for a nine point halftime deficit against the Huskies. With 19 points apiece from Grant Campbell and Andrew Morris, the Tribe outscored the Huskies 24-9 in the final ten minutes of the game.
A new look Runnin’ Rebels squad managed to overcome a first half scoring struggle to pull out an 87-81 victory over the Gladiators. Unable to hit double digits on the scoreboard until the ten minute mark in the first half, the Rebels were still able to keep the game within reach, trailing by only four points at halftime. Paced by Aldrich Barrios’ 18 points, the Rebels held off a 25 point effort from the Gladiators Adam Gehrig.
The second of three new teams in the tournament field made their first appearance Saturday morning as the NWO took to the court against TRU. Unfortunately the NWO had no answer for TRU’s backcourt duo of Rojhae Colbert and Tyus De Vries who combined to score 36 points in the 82-72 victory.
A 104-88 lopsided victory by 64th Avenue over Vancity left a number of people, including those on Vancity’s bench scratching their heads. With plenty of firepower on their roster, the sixteen point difference was not indicative of how lopsided the game truly was. While Clayton Crellin dropped a game high 34 points it was not enough to outscore 64th Avenue’s inside/outside duo of Colin Plumb (18pts) and Luka Zaharijevic (14pts).
The Runnin’ Rebels kicked off the second round of games with a convincing thirty-one point victory over the Huskies. Paced by Elijah Calhoun and Garrett Ling-Lee who finished with 24 and 18 points respectively, the Rebels turned a seven point halftime advantage into a second half blowout, including a 23-8 run to finish the game.
Despite the efforts of Andrew Morris (28pts) and Grant Campbell (25pts), a controversial finish to the Gladiators 102-99 victory over Tribe finished the day one schedule for both teams. Saddled with a 1-1 record, both the Gladiators and Tribe would be sitting on the fence of making the playoff round. Thanks to a game high twelve three pointers, including six from Isaiah Reimer, the Gladiators managed to break a 99-99 tie with a last second bank from downtown.
Vancity almost allowed a twenty-two point first half lead to slip away in their 91-81 victory over TRU. Although they put on a great scoring competition with Crellin dropping 35 points for Vancity and Colbert countering with 23 for TRU, the Kamloops filled squad did not have enough secondary firepower to stop Vancity from improving their record to .500.
Closing out the first day of games, 64th Avenue dominated the NWO in a lopsided affair. After trailing 12-7 in the opening minutes, a 28-6 run opened the floodgates for 64th Avenue and they didn’t let up. With all but two members of the team hitting for double digits, a well rounded team effort on both ends of the floor led to a 126-84 demolishing.
The struggles continued for the NWO as they opened up the day two schedule with another blowout loss, this time 125-76 against Vancity. With an undermanned roster, the loss would eliminate the NWO from the tournament and guarantee a playoff spot for Vancity, who after a rocky start to the weekend seemed to have found their rhythm at the right time.
As a result of their 98-71 victory over Tribe, the Runnin’ Rebels locked up the first overall seed in Hoops Nation division. Ling-Lee would pace the Rebels offence with 20 points while Barrios chipped in with 18. The loss put Tribe in jeopardy of missing out of the playoffs and would need the winless Huskies to pull off an upset victory over the Gladiators in the next game.
While they were mathematically still eligible for the playoffs, the Huskies were given the role of spoiler in their final round robin game against the Gladiators. For nearly thirty-five of the forty minutes of action, it looked as though the Huskies, who had been playing with a short bench all weekend, would pull our their first victory. Unfortunately for the underdog, a short 7-2 blitz in the final minutes gave the Gladiators a 96-91 victory and in the process not only catapulted them into the playoffs (as the second seed from Hoops Nation), but also knocked Tribe out.
With Vancity sitting 2-1, 64th Avenue, who was currently 2-0, squared off against the 1-1 TRU in the final round robin game of the tournament. With a lot of factors at play, 64th Avenue came out of the gates with guns blazing as they established a 23-9 lead and never looked back. Although TRU, led by De Vires’ 26 points, would bring the game to within two buckets (57-53) midway through the second half, 64th Avenue, guided by Max Grossman’s 14 points, once again put together a string of hoops to open the lead and finish with a 91-81 victory.
As a result of the 64th/TRU game, Vancity earned the second seed in the Soul In The Hole division and a playoff matchup against the Runnin’ Rebels. After Vancity opened up a early 26-18 lead, the Rebels, thanks in large part to a few of their twenty 3 point baskets, bounced back to pull out a 56-50 halftime lead. With the lead extended to as many as twelve midway through the final half, Vancity would continue to claw away, capitalizing on a number of Rebels mistakes and with less than twenty seconds left on the clock, regain control of the scoreboard with a 112-110 victory. As he had all tournament, Clay Crellin led Vancity with a game high 33 points, while Ronnie Battle chipped in with 24. Aldrich Barrios and Mark Johnson teamed up to lead the Rebels with 50 points (27 and 23).
The second semi-final matchup featured the top overall seed, 64th Avenue and the Gladiators. While both teams had perimeter firepower, this meant that the 6’8″, 260 Zaharijevic would do battle with the Gladiators own big man, Andrew Goertzen who weighed in at 6’9″, 240. With an undefeated record, 64th was the odds on favourite coming into the game, but the young Gladiators didn’t appear fazed, even when facing an early 14 point deficit. Cutting the lead to single digits at halftime, the Gladiators looked poised for the upset as they brought the game to within one point, 82-81 with less than six minutes remaining in the second half. Unfortunately for the Gladiators, the veteran experience of 64th Avenue quickly brought a double digit lead back in their favour before closing out the 106-98 victory. Zaharijevic would finish with a team high 17 points, while Adam Gerhig led the Gladiators with 21.
Their first meeting was a lopsided affair, however as was fitting of a championship game, neither 64th Avenue or Vancity would really establish dominance throughout the final game of the tournament. After a 12-5 run midway through the first half, 64th Avenue needed a pair of free throws and a three pointer to walk into the break with a 47-45 lead. Thanks to seven straight three pointers early in the second half, including a flurry of buckets from Ronnie Battle, Vancity found themselves holding a sizeable 68-57 lead. However, not to be outdone was 64th Avenue’s point guard Bret MacDonald who countered with four three pointers of his own during the final twenty minutes. Facing a twelve point disadvantage late in the game, 64th Avenue used 13 paint points from Zaharijevic to help launch the team on a 23-10 run to claim their first Hoopfest Championship with a well earned 96-93 victory. 64th Avenue’s inside outside duo would finish the game with 22 points apiece, while Battle, who would finish with 34 (including 9 three pointers) and Crellin’s 32 would lead a valiant effort for Vancity.
CHAMPIONS: 64th Avenue….$400 Joseph Richard Group Gift Certificate, Vancouver Canucks Tickets, Noodlebox Gift Certificates, Sevenfold Sports Championship T-Shirts
MVP: Bret MacDonald (64th Avenue)….Vancouver Canucks Tickets, 1 Year Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness Membership, BC Lions Game Tickets / Pregame Field Pass, Fraser Valley Bandits Hoodie, Sevenfold Sports MVP T-Shirt
ALL STARS: Luka Zaharijevic (64th Avenue), Ronnie Battle and Clayton Crellin (Vancity), Mark Johnson (Runnin’ Rebels), Adam Gerhig (Gladiators)….$50 Joseph Richard Group Gift Certificate, Blaze Pizza Vouchers, Sevenfold Sports All-Star T-Shirt
A special thank you to all the sponsors and supporters for the 15th Annual Hoopfest BC Tournament, without your contributions our event wouldn’t be a continued success.
Joseph Richard Group
Prospera Credit Union
Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club
BC Lions Football
Fraser Valley Bandits
Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness