Port Coquitlam's Riverside secondary takes third at Valleys

The Riverside Rapids defeated W.J. Mouat at the Fraser Valley AAA basketball bronze medal game at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.  - GARY AHUJA/BLACK PRESS
The Riverside Rapids defeated W.J. Mouat at the Fraser Valley AAA basketball bronze medal game at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
— image credit: GARY AHUJA/BLACK PRESS

Paul Langford would have preferred his team made it to the finals of the Fraser Valley playoffs, but the Riverside Rapids coach has his eye on a bigger prize.

After losing 73-57 against Maple Ridge secondary in the semifinals on Friday, the best the team could hope for was third place in the tournament, a feat easily accomplished by the club following an 85-61 win over W.J. Mouat of Abbotsford.

That guarantees Riverside a berth in the AAA senior girls’ basketball provincial championship, and while they are seeded lower than they would have liked, “anything can happen,” Langford said.

“We definitely would have been better of if we were in the final [of the Fraser Valley playoffs],” he said. “It was a little disappointing… but we finished up strong in the third place game, which is alright.”

Riverside had a strong showing in the opening playoff game, easily defeating Sardis secondary 87-39. The Rapids followed up the win with a 79-39 victory over Coquitlam’s Gleneagle Talons before running into trouble against Maple Ridge.

“Our defence has to get a little tighter,” Langford said. “We have to be stingier. We are giving up too many points.”

In the end, Riverside came up short in the semifinal game, losing to Maple Ridge 73-57.

Langford said he was proud of the way his team was able to recover from the disappointing loss. The Rapids were able to keep their energy up in the third-place game, something the coach said contributed to the 85-61 victory over Mouat.

Maple Ridge went on to win the Fraser Valley playoffs and will be one of the top-seeded teams at the B.C. AAA Girls’ Basketball Tournament next month. Brookswood secondary finished up in second place.

But Riverside’s senior team was not the only club to have success on the weekend.

The Rapids’ junior club knocked off Mouat in a nail biting 48-46 victory in the final game to win the junior girls’ banner. Riverside’s Grade 9 club also defeated Mouat in a 42-37 win in the finals of the Fraser Valley playoffs.

Success in the junior ranks bodes well for Langford, who will see many of the players make their way up to his senior team in the coming years. That means Riverside’s AAA girls’ basketball dominance won’t be coming to an end any time soon.

“The junior finals was one of the most exciting games that I have seen in years,” Langford said. “It was a great weekend for Rapids basketball.”

But Riverside was not the only school represented at this week’s Fraser Valley playoffs.

The Terry Fox Ravens struggled out of the gates, losing to Yale secondary 69-44 in the opening game. The school was able to bounce back against North Surrey in a 77-45 win, but lost in close game on Thursday to the Talons 37-35.

Gleneagle finished the tournament in eighth place, after defeating Lord Tweedsmuir in Game 1, followed by the loss to Riversdie in Game 2.

The win over the Ravens helped the club take the eighth spot.

The boys’ AAA basketball will begin the Fraser Valley playoffs this week.

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