It’s only fitting that the Centennial Centaurs’ big man made a big play that pushed the team to an 84-81 win in Saturday’s championship final of the Tsumura Invitational senior boys high school basketball tournament at the Langley Events Centre.
With the Owls pressing in the finale’s waning moments and the Centaurs hanging onto a slim one-point advantage, six-foot-eight forward Dominic Parolin came out of nowhere to swat the potential go-ahead basket off the backboard where a teammate was able to corral at and ensure the team’s 84-81 win.
“I thought that was the turning point in the game,” Centaurs’ coach Rob Sollero said of Parolin’s clutch defensive effort.
“I just knew we needed a momentum booster,” Parolin said.
Centennial’s big man was also big on the scoreboard, scoring 39 points in the final and he was recognized as the tournament’s most valuable player for his average of 31.5 points over four games.
Ranked third amongst the province’s AAAA teams heading into the 20-team tournament, the Centaurs rolled through R.A. McMath, G.W.Graham and Duchess Park secondary schools to reach the final.
The Owls were ranked second and had knocked off top-ranked Burnaby South by one point in the semifinal.
Centennial trailed Kelowna by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but managed to whittle that to just a four-point deficit at halftime.
“They never quit, they battled,” Sollero said of his side’s resilience. “We could have given up a few times but we just never gave up. They just kept fighting and fighting.”
In addition to Parolin’s big effort, Dante Petrescu chipped in 14 points for the Centaurs.
The Terry Fox Ravens finished the tournament in seventh place, while the Heritage Woods Kodiaks were 10th.