Walnut Grove Gators Grade 9 point guard Tavia Rowell dribbled the ball against the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers during the Fraser Valley title game Saturday at Maple Ridge Secondary. The Panthers edged the Gators 56-54.

Walnut Grove Gator guys take Valley title, gals place second

Walnut Grove’s junior boys won the Fraser Valley crown, while the Gators’ junior girls finished second in the Valley.

Walnut Grove Secondary is a B.C. basketball powerhouse.

Here’s proof: the Gators junior boys captured the Fraser Valley championship title over the weekend, while the Gators junior girls took second in the Valley.

Walnut Grove’s junior boys won the Valley title with a 58-40 win over the Pitt Meadows Marauders in the final, played Saturday night at Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Secondary.

Gators head coach Chris Bertoia noted that strong team defence was the key for his team winning the Fraser Valleys, with the Gators holding foes to a paltry 41.2 points per game during the tournament.

“With our offence, we feel that if we hold teams below 45 that we can beat anyone,” Bertoia  said. “Our team motto is ‘defence plus rebounding equals championships.’”

James Woods was the Gators’ leading scorer during the tournament (he poured in 19 points versus Pitt Meadows), and earned the tournament MVP award.

Luke Adams also had an excellent tournament, Bertoia said, and was named to the tournament all-star team.

“Luke held the big 6’6” kid from Pitt to six points in the final,” Bertoia said.

“I was especially glad to face Pitt [Meadows] in the final and beat them,” Bertoia added. “I have lived in Maple Ridge my whole life and played ball at Garibaldi. Pitt beat us way too many times when I was a kid. It was great to take a championship game from [Marauders’ veteran head coach] Rich Goulet!”

En route to the final, the Gators beat Johnston Heights 58-39 Feb. 15, downed cross-town rival R.E. Mountain 57-39 Feb. 17, edged North Delta 54-49 in their first game of the championship round at Terry Fox on Feb. 18, and defeated Yale 56-44 this past Friday, Feb. 19.

Meanwhile, at Maple Ridge Secondary, the Gators junior girls were clipped 56-54 by the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers in their Fraser Valley title match-up on Saturday night.

The Gators went undefeated on the road to the final.

They crushed Charles Best 68-15 on Feb. 15, defeated W.J. Mouat 62-21 on Feb. 17, cruised past Sardis 75-47 in the first game of the championship on Feb. 18 at Maple Ridge Secondary,  and beat Brookswood 63-44 this past Friday, Feb. 19 at Pitt Meadows Secondary.

Gators Alex Tadec and Tavia Rowell were named Fraser Valley all-stars, along with Brookswood’s Jenna Dick.

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Sedona Arabsky was named tournament MVP.

Next up for both Gators teams are their respective B.C. championships at the Langley Events Centre.

The junior boys tournament starts Saturday and runs until Tuesday.

The junior girls tourney runs from next Tuesday to Saturday (March 2 to 5).

• Click here for more photos of the Fraser Valley junior girls basketball final

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