Paul Yates, Vancouver Sports Pictures
It required overtime, but Richmond’s McMath Wildcats have earned the opportunity to play for a provincial basketball championship.
Down 43-30 in the third quarter, the No. 6-ranked ‘Cats clawed their way back for a remarkable 69-67 overtime victory against No. 2-ranked Vancouver College Fighting Irish in Final Four play Monday night in the B.C. junior boys’ tournament at Langley Events Centre. The victory sets up a rematch of the Vancouver and District final between McMath and No. 1-ranked Burnaby South Rebels tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.
Undefeated with a 33-0 record heading into tonight’s provincial title game, Burnaby South rolled to a 58-35 win over No. 4-ranked St. Patrick’s of Vancouver in the other semifinal. Burnaby South defeated McMath 71-57 in the district final Feb. 15.
After watching his potential buzzer-beater miss the mark, Travis Hamberger drained a three-point shot in overtime against the Irish, to even the score at 65-65, and the stole the ball on the next possession to score a lay-up to put the Wildcats in front. Then after the Irish again evened the score, a triple-teamed Hamberger found Elias Khan in the paint for the winning basket.
Hamberger finished with a game-high 21 points, while Cole Cruz-Dumont had 14 for the Irish before leaving due to an injury.
Coached by Jon Acob and Chris Kennedy, the Wildcats have proven to be resilient this season. It’s clearly a team that reflects the meaning of the word.
“When Chris and I took on coaching this team, we just wanted to promote the idea of working as a team,” said Acob. “The guys have bought in.”