Griffins secure place in provincials
The R.C. Palmer Griffins are loving the underdog role.
Against the odds, they won the Richmond high school senior boys' basketball championship recently and then, even more impressively, qualified for next week's provincial "AA" tournament in Kamloops by winning the Lower Mainland playdowns on the weekend. Just like in the city playoffs, the Griffins were not the top seed but played with great poise and determination.
"We have really been coming out of the gate playing great basketball lately," says longtime Griffins' coach Paul Eberhardt. "These quick starts have really gone a long way to our success."
While Grade 12 star Jamie Madewan continues to be the go-to player, Palmer is also getting significant contributions from its other players. One notable is Antonio Jhuty, who continued his torrid offensive place of late at the Mainlands. Jhuty scored 29 points (Madewan had 26) in a 102-59 opening-game win over the Cariboo Hill Chargers from Burnaby, which he followed up by shooting over 50 per cent—including seven three-pointers—in a 35-point showing to pace the Griffins past the King George Dragons of Vancouver 79-68.
"Antonio is a very special offensive player," said Eberhardt. "When he gets it going he can score in bunches, and King George had no answer for him."
But as well as Jhuty—selected as a first team all-star—played, Madewan was a model of consistency and the obvious pick as tournament MVP. In addiction to his 26 points in Palmer's win over Cariboo Hill, Madewan added 16 points against King George and then looked like a man against boys in the Griffins' 97-82 final-game victory over the Notre Dame Jugglers with 44 points and 24 rebounds.
"Jamie did it all" said Eberhardt. "He scored inside and out, blocked shots, rebounded and made some great assists. He is truly amongst the elite high school players."
Harmon Mann came off the bench for 12 points against Cariboo Hill, while his older brother Karn led the Griffins in rebounds with nine. Karn had 11 points and pulled down 20 boards versus Notre Dame.
The provincials are March 6 to 9 in Kamloops.
"We are very excited to be returning to Kamloops where we will give it our best to bring a B.C. championships banner back to Richmond," said Eberhardt.