As the Terry Fox Ravens returned to the court after their last time out, the players all touched the small statue of Terry Fox that accompanies the Port Coquitlam school’s teams to every big game.
But on Friday night, there were no heroics for the Ravens.
Their quest for the BC High School senior boys AAAA basketball championship ended with a loss in the semifinal of the BC High School senior boys AAAA championships to the Kelowna Owls, 74-67.
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Heading into the game at the Langley Events Centre, the tournament seemed to be falling the Ravens’ way, as the two teams seeded ahead of them had been defeated in Thursday's quarter-finals. And Terry Fox, ranked third, hit the court like they were full measure to be the next champion with an 11-2 run that was built on powerful rebounding and rapier shooting.
But the seventh-ranked Owls refused to lose their poise, clawing their way back to within a point, 14-13, at the end of the first quarter.
There wasn’t much more to choose between the teams in the next quarter. Kelowna outscored Terry Fox 22-20 to take a 35-34 advantage into the dressing room.
It was in the second half the tide of the game started to change. Rebounds the Ravens had been pulling down suddenly bounced into the arms and hands of the Owls. Shots they had been making missed their mark.
The Ravens’ field goal accuracy fell in the second half to 24.4% from 33.3% in the first half. They hit only one of the 13 three-pointers they attempted.
“We did not do a good job shooting and we left too many points on the floor,” said Fox head coach Brad Petersen.
Still, Kelowna wasn’t shooting the lights out themselves, hitting only 30.8% of their field goals in the second half. It was enough, though, to hold a 58-54 lead heading into the final frame. More importantly, they were winning key battles underneath the basket, including a key sequence when four times Ravens’ shooters misfired, four times the Owls pulled down the rebound then turned it over.
When Kelowna finally headed back down court to increase their margin, shoulders on the Fox bench sagged.
“I think we just threw the ball away too many times,” Petersen said.
Cameron Slaymaker’s 18 points led the Ravens, while Jacob Mand netted 14 before he had to take the bench late in the game after his fifth foul.
Grady Stanyer was a beast on the boards; his 25 rebounds were almost half the Ravens’ total of 53. The Owls totalled 34 rebounds.
Terry Fox will now pay Burnaby South, last year’ champions, for third place, Saturday at 4:45 p.m., at the LEC. Kelowna will meet Lord Tweedsmuir in the championship final at 8:15 p.m.