Sardis star Hayden Lejeune backs in a Henry Carr Crusader during the final of the Abbotsford Snowball Basketball tournament.

Sardis makes statement against Canadian heavyweight

They lost, but they served notice they're a team to beat, going toe to toe with the Father Henry Carr Crusaders.

The Sardis Falcons senior boys basketball team took on a Canadian heavyweight in the final of last week’s Abbotsford Snowball Basketball Tournament.

The Falcons faced Toronto’s Father Henry Carr Crusaders, ranked No. 2 in the entire country.

The Ontarians won 79-60, but it was no cake-walk.

In early tournament games, the Crusaders had smacked around a pair of top-15 ranked BC teams, winning each game by 40+ points.

The Falcons kept it much closer, getting within 12 points in the middle of the fourth quarter.

“With a few more layups and free-throws dropping, it might have been an even closer game,” said Sardis coach Kyle Graves.

After some quiet regular season play, Eric Rogers got back on track with a team-high 21 points.

Hayden Lejeune had 13 and Cam Servatius eight, and all three were named to the tournament first all-star team.

Senior team captain Grayden Northey earned player of the game honors with eight points and great defence.

“They’re a very good team. They battle, they work really hard, they shoot the ball really well, they’re disciplined, they’re well coached,” said Henry Carr coach Paul Melnick, when asked about the Falcons. “They’re just not as deep as us. They might just be one or two players short of making a real run at us. But you know what, we don’t want to get into a close game with them, because they make big shots and they make great decisions. They’re really poised in their basketball sense.”

Graves was thrilled with his team’s efforts and hopes they carry a ton of momentum into regular season play.

“This game showed fans, the coaches and most importantly the players themselves that when we play with an intense focus to compete and outwork the other team we have a chance to beat any team in BC,” he said. “This tournament hopefully will be a spring board for a very successful next two months as we try to bring home a provincial championship.”

Graves and crew visit Chilliwack Wednesday night for a 6 p.m. tipoff against the arch-rival Storm.