Photo by Chung Chow
The raven is said to be unusually intelligent, extremely versatile and opportunistic, with a knack for problem solving.
A wise and appropriate moniker then for the new kids on the block.
Taking a deliberate and patient path, the A.R. MacNeill Ravens reached the pinnacle of high school basketball last week, appearing in their inaugural provincial AAA boys’ championships at the Langley Events Centre. Ascending to the final four further suggests there’s plenty more in store for the future of the Richmond high school’s senior boys program.
But equally impressive, the team was named the tournament’s most sportsmanlike team.
“We’re all feeling exciting about where we’re going,” says Peter Thackwray, whose efforts have been as instrumental as anyone’s in the construction of the MacNeill program.
Thackwray, who this year guided a vaunted junior boys’ team while serving as an assistant coach to Steward Siy and Landon Dy, has been involved in MacNeill athletics since the No. 4 Road school opened in 2003. But typically modest, he deflects much of the accolades to others.
“Having great people like Stew and Landon has been instrumental in helping us get to this point,” he says. “This has been a process and everyone has put in lots of time and work, the kids as well, in hopes of building something that will continue to grow. It’s very exciting.”
The 2018-19 campaign was a season of several firsts, and included a second-place finish at the Lower Mainland championships held at the Richmond Olympic Oval where they defeated a solid Richmond Colts before a boisterous and supportive crowd.
At the provincials, the Ravens won their B.C. tournament debut on centre court March 6 by defeating 11th-ranked Robert Bateman Timberwolves of Abbotsford 77-67 in a 10 a.m. tilt. They then won thier quarter-final match 78-68 over North Vancouver’s Argyle Pipers the following day to reach the final four before bowing to Vernon Panthers 89-65 in the semifinals on March 8. Duchess Park outscored MacNeill 75-54 in the third/fourth place game Saturday.
• Steveston-London Sharks also reached the provincial tournament, but were eliminated with an opening-day loss to G.W. Graham of Chilliwack 85-59. In consolation play, Steveston-London defeated Caledonia 62-59 before losing 85-70 to Byrne Creek and 69-64 to Pitt Meadows.