Mar 16 2011
Gators out of luck against Irish

John Gordon/Langley Times

Walnut Grove's Jack Tsai comes up with a rebound during his team's 74-62 loss to the Vancouver College Fighting Irish during the B.C. AAA high school senior boys' basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre on Wednesday.

By Gary Ahuja

The constant full court pressure applied by the Vancouver College Fighting Irish took its toll in the second half, sending the Walnut Grove Gators to the consolation side of the provincial championships.

The Gators, thanks to a buzzer-beating three-point bank shot from Paul Getz led 34-29 at the half in Wednesday's Sweet 16 matchup at the B.C. high school AAA basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre.

But the Irish's relentless pressure allowed a 10-point swing in the third quarter, as Vancouver College took a 48-43 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back, advancing to the quarter-finals with a 76-62 victory.

Walnut Grove coach George Bergen said his team was able to mask their problems in the first half before their mistakes caught up to them.

"We didn't handle the pressure very well," he said.

"Although the first half was impressive, we had 17 turnovers," he said. "That speaks volumes about not being able to handle it.

"And it keeps wearing you down."

The Gators committed 28 turnovers, leading to 21 Irish points.

The loss knocks Walnut Grove out of contention for the provincial title, as the best they can do now is finish sixth.

The team's next game is Thursday (March 17) at 11:30 a.m.against either Kelowna or Gleneagle.

The Gators were led by forward Larry Blyth who had 23 points and 17 rebounds.

Jack Tsai and Getz had 10 points apiece.

The Irish had 21 points from Isiah Solomon and 17 from Reiner Theil.

In addition to the Vancouver College winning the turnover battle, the Irish were also able to take advantage of the Gators foul problems.

Vancouver College shot 36 free throws, making 25, compared to the Gators who only went to the charity stripe seven times, making five of those.

Walnut Grove's biggest lead of the game was seven points, which they enjoyed after scoring the first basket of the second half.

Vancouver College will face the winner of Kelowna and Gleneagle in one of the quarter-final games.

In Wednesday's earlier action, Heritage Woods edged Argyle 60-57, W.J. Mouat defeated Fleetwood Park 57-52 and R.C. Palmer downed Tamanawis 62-44.

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