The Mount Slesse Timberwolves have advanced to Grade 8 boys basketball provincials, capturing an Eastern Valley Athletic Association (EVAA) championship in thrilling fashion last week. The Timberwolves erased a 14 point deficit in the final minutes of the championship game, beating the Walnut Grove Gators 57-52 in overtime.
“Watching those kids work that hard was amazing,” said head coach T.J. Klim. “It was honestly the best game I have ever seen or coached. These boys never quit and continued to work as a family to get this win, and we are super proud of their accomplishments.”
The final against Walnut Grove appeared to be over with five minutes remaining, but coming out of a timeout the T-Wolves rattled off six points in 46 seconds to cut their deficit from 14 to eight. Using an intense full-court press, Mount Slesse cut it to three points. Cody Hagel stole the ball and fed Grayson Mouritzen, who was fouled as he scored. After sinking a free throw, the game was tied 46-46.
Once the game got to overtime the T-Wolves weren’t going to be denied. They’ve appeared destined for greatness all season.
The middle schoolers went unbeaten in league play and stayed hot to start the EVAA tournament, which they co-hosted with Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Secondary and Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt Elementary/Middle School.
Guided by Klim and assistant coach Stewart Norton, the boys earned a bye to the quarter-finals where they tipped off against a Langley Fundamental team led by a 30-points-per-game forward.
“We planned and practiced specifically to stop this player and we went out and executed it very well,” said Klim following a 72-45 win.
Mount Slesse vanquished the top-seeded Abbotsford Middle School Huskies in the semi-final, handing them their first non-tournament loss of the season. Mouritzen went off for 49 points in a 78-45 triumph and he was named the tournament MVP after the Walnut Grove win. Ben Hall earned all-star status.
Other boys playing key roles included Alex Szegedi, Elijah Reid and Quinton Lamoureux.
The Grade 8 provincial tournament runs March 2-4, co-hosted by Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Secondary and Sullivan Heights Secondary.
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