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‘Cats claw way to B.C. Final 4

Don Fennell   Feb-25-2019

McMath Wildcats will play Vancouver College Fighting Irish in the semifinals tonight at 8 p.m. at the B.C. Junior Boys’ Basketball Championships at Langley Events Centre.

Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures


Even fighting a cold, it wasn’t hard to hear the excitement in Jon Acob’s voice.

With McMath Secondary’s junior boys’ basketball team set to face Vancouver College Fighting Irish in semifinal play tonight (Feb. 25) at 8 p.m. at the provincial championships in Langley, the veteran bench boss wasn’t at a loss for words.

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“These are good times,” he said.

Indeed they are, after the Wildcats, seeded sixth entering the 32-team B.C. tournament, went on an unexpected run to reach the Final Four.

The run began with a 66-48 win over Sahali of Kamloops last Saturday morning, a game that reflects what the Wildcats are all about: team. Thirteen different players contributed to the scoring, led by player-of-the-game Rio Hutchful’s 17 points.

McMath then pulled off a 57-56 win over St. Georges Saints, a team that had spent much of the year ranked in the top five provincially. St. Georges got off to a quick 10-0 lead and held a four-point advantage with two minutes to play before a timely three-point shot from Michael Kitka found the range. A put-back basket from Miguel Vargas then propelled the Wildcats onto the quarter-finals, with Travis Hamberger pacing the Wildcats with 19 points.

McMath reached the semis with a 49-41 win over Fraser Valley champion Yale Lions.

Going into the tournament, McMath had only one top-eight finish in school history (fourth in 2011). They hope to become the first Richmond school to win a B.C. basketball title since Richmond High in 1998.

Regardless of the outcome, Acob says it’s already been both a memorable and rewarding season.

“I’m really proud of this team,” he says. “It’s very satisfying to see these guys rewarded.”


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