Walnut Grove Gators clip Crusaders to take third in Valley

Jadon Cohee sunk the game-winning basket with under a minute to go, lifting the Walnut Grove Gators past Surrey’s Holy Cross Crusaders 66-65 Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

The match-up decided the third and fourth place teams in the Fraser Valley senior boys Quad A basketball championship tournament.

“On a basis of one to 10, I’d say a 10,” said Gators head coach George Bergen when assessing the play of Cohee, a Grade 12 guard who finished with a team-best 30 points versus the Crusaders. “But it was a team effort.”

The game pitted the provincially No. 3-ranked Crusaders against the fifth-ranked Gators.

Holy Cross held a slim 65-64 lead before Cohee’s clutch shot decided the outcome.

The Crusaders’ final shot bounced around the rim but stayed out as the game clock ticked down to zero.

Walnut Grove played for third after losing 64-40 to Coquitlam’s Gleneagle Talons in one of two Fraser Valley semifinals held Friday at the LEC.

Last year, the Gators won the Fraser Valley Triple A title and went on to capture the B.C. championship.

This year, at the Quad A level, the Fraser Valley zone is considered by many to be the toughest in the province, with seven teams ranked in the top 10 in B.C.

“I think the Fraser Valley is tough. It was tough when I played, it was tough 10 years ago, it’s tough now,” Bergen said.

Next up for the Gators is the B.C. senior boys Quad A championships at the LEC. The Gators first game is next Wednesday, March 12 against Queen Charlotte at 8:30 a.m. The tourney runs until Saturday, March 15.

Asked if he thought the win over Holy Cross will give the Gators momentum going into the provincials, Bergen said, “I’d say every win gives you momentum, whether it’s early in the season or later, but certainly winning that one is a huge momentum boost.”

He added, “We have a tough draw [at the provincials], but we’re going to battle hard.”

FINAL BUZZER: Running simultaneously at the LEC over the weekend were the B.C. junior boys and junior girls championships.

The Gators junior boys finished fourth in B.C. after falling 58-50 to Tamanawis in Saturday afternoon’s bronze medal game.

During the tournament, the junior Gators beat Duchess Park 62-39 Feb. 26 and defeated Fleetwood Park 56-48 Feb. 27 before being edged 49-43 by Panorama Ridge in Friday’s B.C. semifinal.

In the junior boys gold medal game, West Vancouver edged Panorama Ridge 53-50 to win the B.C. title.

Port Coquitlam’s Riverside Rapids were celebrating Saturday after downing the South Kamloops Titans 46-32 in the B.C. junior girls championship game.

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