Gabe Mannes had 38 points and Ryan Trottier added 28 Wednesday night as the GW Graham Grizzlies won their first game at the AA provincials.
The Grizz stomped Richmond’s Cambie Crusaders at the Langley Events Centre, dominating a team that was, theoretically, supposed to be their equal.
In the most recent provincial rankings the Crusaders were No. 7 and the Grizzlies No. 8.
The final score, 99-65, suggests those rankings were horribly, horribly wrong.
“We watched their film and we saw mismatches all over the floor,” said guard Gabe Mannes. “We were confident, but I didn’t think we were going to win by that much.”
Mannes started the game by missing his first two shots.
“I bricked them,” he chuckled.
After that, everything No. 1 in white shot seemed to drop.
Mannes heaved a couple from well beyond the three-point arc, draining them with ease.
Off the floor. Off the scoreboard. Off the bankboard. No rim.
Nothing but net.
“If I hit a couple I just get that feeling and it snowballs,” he said. “I drink an energy drink before every game, so I’m not coming out slow.”
Mannes and Trottier combined for 12 three pointers.
When Mannes wasn’t bombing away from the outside, he was slashing to the hoop for layups.
Trottier was lethal with mid-range shots.
Phil Weston added eight points and Mateo Urbano had seven, with 11 of 15 Grizzlies hitting the score-sheet.
“Mateo has put so much work into it in the gym, and it’s paying off,” Mannes said of the backup guard who was second on the team with five rebounds and hit a key three pointer.
The Grizzlies owned the battle of the boards, out-rebounding Cambie 54-34.
If there were any nerves for the first time provincialists, it didn’t show in the first quarter, where GWG staked themselves to a 29-18 lead.
They led 51-36 at the half and 76-52 after three quarters.
One more made shot somewhere along the way and they would have hit triple digits, a rare feat in high school hoops.
Only the efforts of Cambie’s Justin Dhillon kept things remotely close.
No. 8 in black had 32 points while the next highest scoring Crusaders (Riley Paulik and Kevin Dhillon) had nine apiece.
“He’s good, quick and knows how to finish,” Mannes noted. “He’s really hard to stop.”
Early in the third quarter, the mighty St. Michaels University School Blue Jags poured out of their locker room, heading to their opener against Kitimat’s Mt. Elizabeth Eagles.
As GWG pulled away from Cambie, Grizzly supporters started chanting, ‘We want St. Mikes! We want St. Mikes!
On the court, Mannes said his crew wasn’t thinking ahead to a second round matchup with the province’s No. 1 ranked team.
“I was thinking about the Delview and Langley Christian game from the Fraser Valleys where Delview was up by 26 going into the fourth quarter and lost. We weren’t going to let up.”
The Grizzlies and Blue Jags met Thursday night, after Progress press deadlines.
See how GWG did by clicking online to bchighschoolbasketballchampionships.com/2aboys/ for the latest scores.