PORT COQUITLAM — When the Terry Fox Ravens entered the Langley Events Centre last week to launch their defence of the 2012 B.C. High School AAA Boys Basketball championship, some strong memories stood tall.
Last year’s amazing underdog run, which saw the team win the title in a 75-74 last-second thriller against Walnut Grove, was front and centre in team members’ minds.
But for those who know their history could point to 20 years ago this month as to where the Fox celebration tradition began.
It’s been two decades since the Ravens won their first B.C. banner, then in the comfy confines of the PNE Agrodome. It was so sweet, they repeated as provincial kings in 1994.
The two-year reign was years in the planning, but that 77-72 overtime triumph over the North Delta Huskies is one many still hang their hats on.
“It was an unbelievable group, just super kids,” recalls Fox teacher Rich Chambers, who co-coached the team with Don van Os during much of the 1990s. “The first championship is always special, and if you’re at it long enough these kinds of things happen.”
Led by tournament MVP Bret Anderson, the Ravens battled back with some inspiring shooting with time running out — with Dave Morgan feeding Chris Szarka for the game-tying bucket to force extra time.
Anderson’s underhanded scoop shot with 1:21 left in the extra frame was followed by a trey off the hands of Vic Grigore.
When the Agrodome buzzer sounded, the celebration began.
“I had a lot of friends on the ’93 team,” recalled current Fox coach Steve Hanson. “I was one of four seniors on the 1992 team and (prior to that) the school hadn’t been to the B.C.s since 1986, I think.”
In his senior year the school lost the first game in double overtime, putting them on the consolation side.
But he came back a year later to cheer on his former teammates and enjoy the run.
“Being a fan coming back to watch, I was one of those guys running on the floor at the end of the game and that was a real special time. A great group of guys,” Hanson recalled.
Morgan and Szarka were named tourney all-stars, while John Murphy was selected the tournament’s Best Defensive player.
As talented as they were on the basketball court, some members of that team went on to some pretty impressive careers in other sports. Both Anderson and Szarka had lengthy turns in the Canadian Football League, while Morgan was a lacrosse standout.
Anderson, who starred at school in football and rugby along with hoops, played nine seasons with the B.C. Lions.
“We had some outstanding athletes,” said Chambers. “They finished ninth the year before so we had that experience. Along with Bret, we had an amazing supporting cast.”