Walnut Grove MVP James Woods tried to get around a Kelowna Owls defender during the provincial championship final game Saturday.

Walnut Grove Gators take provincial championship

The Langley squad beat all comers at LEC this weekend.

EDITOR’S NOTE: See photos below

Walnut Grove Gators managed to unseat last year’s provincial champions in a close contest at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday, March 11.

The Gator 4A boys squad defeated the Kelowna Owls on day four of the High School Boys Basketball Championships, downing last year’s champs by a score of 78 to 65.

Though the final score was solid, the game was close for much of the play between Walnut Grove, the number one seed, and second-seeded Kelowna.

The nail-biting moment was a 65-65 tie in the fourth quarter, said head coach George Bergen.

Then in the last four and a half minutes of play, the Gators changed up their defensive tactics.

“We contained their best player,” Bergen said, keeping Mason Bourcier of Kelowna away from the net.

Walnut Grove’s players then went on a scoring run.

“Their effort level and their performance level was at an all-time high,” Bergen said.

It was a turnaround for the Owls, who had taken home the gold medal from the tournament in 2016.

But Walnut Grove headed into the four-day tournament as the top-seeded team this year and never let up.

They started by defeating Mount Baker by 116 to 34, sent Kitsilano down to defeat by 100-64, and beat Holy Cross 90-58.

Despite Walnut Grove’s dominance on the court, the tournament awarded Mason Bourcier of Kelowna the title of championship player of the game for the final.

Bergen was named championship coach, and most valuable player was James Woods of Walnut Grove.