Extra time played a big role at the Terry Fox Legal Beagle Invitational senior boys basketball tournament last weekend.
The title tilt required double-overtime before the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors prevailed 86-80 over the Walnut Grove Gators in Port Coquitlam.
The two heavyweights, who were ranked No. 3 (Walnut Grove) and No. 4 (WRCA) heading into the weekend, provided tremendous entertainment and a lot of intensity over the two-plus hours of action.
It was extra practice time and some sharper defensive skills that propelled the Terry Fox Ravens over district rival the Gleneagle Talons 68-64 in the third place matchup earlier Saturday.
Thanks to some fine sharpshooting from Grade 10 guard Jomari Reyes, the Ravens erased a 14-point deficit beginning late in the second quarter to collect the momentum heading into a busy week of league play.
"We were thinking we had to shoot better, we just wanted to win third and finish the tournament on a strong note," remarked Reyes, who tallied 16 points in the third quarter alone to lead the rally. "We weren't playing well in the first quarter, so we just had to work harder."
Reyes ended up with 25 points, cashing in six treys while being a source of energy from his point guard position. Chipping in with 10 points and a strong game on the boards was Trevor Casey. Reyes' shooting has benefitted from the support of his father, who accompanies the teen to school three times a week for 6 a.m. gym time, and the lessons learned from basketball dean Rich Chambers in three times a week evening classes.
He was named to the tourney's first all-star team.
"[Reyes] was totally hot, he definitely deserved his all-star honour," noted Casey.
There's much momentum to be gained at a high-calibre competition like the Legal Beagle, which featured three of the top four teams and five of the Top 10 in attendance.
That two of them were usurped in the opening round kind of set the stage for final day fireworks. Unranked Fox bumped off No. 9 Sardis 63-47, while Gleneagle shocked No.
1 and previously undefeated Kitsilano 72-67.
As he did most of the tourney, Denver Sparks-Guest topped Gleneagle shooters, earning a position on the second all-star squad.
Although it didn't set the table for better things, Talons coach Tony Scott said it was an effort that the club needs to replicate against other teams.
"We were solid, we just never gave up against Kits," said Scott, who coaches the only senior boys team this year to beat both Kits and Yale, the top two squads who've traded places during the first half of the season.
"We're young and these guys are full of confidence when they play the No. 1 [team]. The thing is to get them to think they can play that way against other teams."
It would also help to have a full lineup. Following Thursday's win over Kits, Scott was without two of his starters due to disciplinary suspensions. He anticipates that both should be back this week.
Terry Fox, meanwhile, also hopes to convert the serious lessons learned at the Beagle into victories in the North League regular season. Head coach Steve Hanson thought a couple of slow starts reflected his roster's relative youth - but was pleased to see them shake it off against both Sardis and Gleneagle.
"We had a horrible start and were down 21-10," recalled Hanson. "For me, the key was to stay calm. I know our young guys would be nervous, but we came out of it fine."