Palmer a spot shy at district hoop championships
After beating St. Pats in the third-place game, all the R.C. Palmer Griffins could do was sit back and hope the St. Thomas More Knights could slay the King George Dragons.
Unfortunately for the Griffins, the Dragons won the Lower Mainland AA high school senior boys' basketball championship final 67-55 thus ending the 2011-12 hoops campaign at Palmer.
But Palmer coach Paul Eberhardt, who last season guided the Griffins to provincial AAA title, was reflective in defeat.
“I am very pleased with the effort the boys have put forth this year, and winning our sixth consecutive Richmond championship was a great accomplishment," he said. "With our Grade 8 team winning the Richmond and district championships and our Grade 10 team coming in second, as well all of the quality players we have returning next year, the future of Palmer basketball continues to be very exciting.”
Palmer opened the Lower Mainland tournament with a dominating 80-43 win over the Alpha Aztecs. The game was only close for a few moments before Palmer began to dominate at both ends of the floor. Four Griffins reached double figures, led by Jamie Madewan 's 18 points. Tyler Debeer had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The semifinal against the Knights (third-ranked provincially) was a tough defensive battle from the beginning. Neither team shot the ball well and defence ruled the day, reflected in the halftime score of 28-22 in the Knights' favour.
The Griffins continued to shoot the ball poorly in the third quarter, and with superior size the Knights began to dominate the boards and slowly pulled away for a 47-31 lead going into the fourth quarter on their way to a 64-41 loss.
“It was truly a painful game to watch as the offensive flow was non-existent,” said Eberhardt. “We were simply too passive and didn’t look to attack the way we normally do. You also have to give STM tremendous credit for their toughness and defensive intensity.” Not surprisingly, no Griffin was able to score well as Debeer led with nine points and 14 rebounds.
Palmer managed to get its offensive game back on track in a 9-267 win over St. Pats, juming out to a 25-14 lead after the opening quarter. Madewan had 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds and five assists for the Griffins. Karn Mann went seven-for-14 from the three-point line and scored 23 points. Ben Samy continued his consistent play with 14 points and Debeer had yet another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. JP Javier dished out 10 assists and Timmie Choi made some great hustle plays and took two charges anchoring Palmer’s defence.
“This was a great effort and I was pleased to see the boys come back strong after yesterday’s difficulties,” said Eberhardt. “The Lower Mainland is a very strong zone as STM, King George, and us have been ranked in the top 10 all season. Unfortunately there are only two berths to the BC’s from our zone and it wouldn’t surprise me to see both KG and STM make the final four.”