Unity Christian’s Grade 9 basketball boys broke a nine year East Valley championship drought Friday night, taking down the AD Rundle Rams to claim their first title since 2005.
The Flames beat AD Rundle 42-38, but the true drama happened in an earlier semi-final win over the Vedder Vipers.
UC rallied from 21 points down to beat Vedder 65-61, with Jacob Visser and Jed Koning scoring 19 points apiece.
Dylan Both drained four points in the final minute to put the game away, bringing back memories of former UC star Scott Elzinga.
Elzinga led the Flames to this same title in 2005, but passed away in a tragic farming accident a year after graduating from high school.
“They both wore the same number (eight) and Dylan is the same size Scott was,” said UC coach Mike Campbell. “All the alumni were watching the game and recalling Scott doing all the same things. It was a cool moment to remember him.”
This year’s Flames roster includes five players in Grade 9 and four in Grade 8. They’re currently ranked No. 1 in BC, with a great chance to win it all at provincials.
It’s a good year for basketball at the school. UC’s senior girls squad is ranked sixth in BC. They will be heavy favourites as they host their Fraser Valley tournament this weekend.
“Basketball all the way down to our Grade 6’s is super strong right now,” Campbell said. “Several of our parents played on Abby Christian’s powerhouse teams of the 90’s and are able to bring top level coaching to our school from the grass roots level. Our support networks are tremendous.”
Campbell expects to see a packed gym Saturday afternoon for the senior girls final, tipping off at 2 p.m. The senior boys’ team will try to qualify for provincials on the road Saturday, playing at Abby Christian.