Jesse Crookes hits game-winner to earn Terry Fox first B.C. provincial title since 1994

Terry Fox Ravens guard Jesse Crookes had no clue how the final game of his high-school career would end.

Not until there were 3.4 seconds left on the score clock.

“I knew we had about two seconds left or something like that, and I just thought that I’ve got to shoot it – and I did – and I didn’t think it was going in.

“And then I was pumped.”

That was Crookes’ reaction after hitting the game-winning shot at the 67th B.C. Boys AAA Championship, defeating the Walnut Grove Gators 75-74 in front of over 4,000 fans at the Langley Events Centre (LEC).

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Walnut Grove and Terry Fox set to clash in B.C. AAA final

Everyone’s eyes were transfixed on Jadon Cohee.

The grade-10 hoop prodigy for the Walnut Grove Gators was absolutely torching the Vancouver College Fighting Irish, his young legs spurring him on to finish the game as the only Gator not to get a breather.

A humble 1-for-4 outing in the first quarter, then an eight-point explosion in second, Cohee began to turn heads as he continuously slithered his lanky frame around the tough Fighting Irish defence.

But the young 6-3 guard got quiet in the second half while his veteran back court counterpart Ethan McKean; who had quietly been having his biggest game of the tourney, emerged in the fourth and completely took over.

It was a McKean three, followed by a steal, and finally another three for the senior guard that put the Gators up 61-58 and effectively closed the doors on Vancouver College’s chance for redemption at the B.C. Triple-A boys championship.

“I just love it, I love the big game moments,” said McKean after his Gators had just beat the Fighting Irish 61-60 in the provincial semifinals on Friday, Mar. 15 at the Langley Events Centre (LEC).

“That’s what I dream about.”

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UNBC defeats Vancouver Island in defensive war to claim PacWest gold

As the VIU Mariners and UNBC Timberwolves stepped onto the hardwood inside Capilano University’s Sportsplex, all outside factors – rankings, statistics, experience and history – were abandoned at the front doors.

When stripped down to it’s rawest form, the men’s PacWest gold medal game on Saturday night was a gritty melee full of emotion; one that featured two elite teams looking to end the debate of who truly is B.C.’s best in 2012.

In a contest that had no buzzer beater finishes, no lead changes and no ties after the 0-0 tipoff, it was still as exciting as they come, with UNBC pulling out a 69-61 victory to capture gold and claim their spot in the CCAA National Championships.

“When you’re going to win championships, you got to play defence,” said Timberwolves head coach Todd Jordan. “We kept them from getting a lot of easy stuff, we followed the defensive game plan really really well, and now we’re champions and it feels pretty good.”

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UNBC and VIU set to meet in PacWest final for third-straight year

VIU Mariners guard Brandon Jones sets his eyes on the hoop - and Saturday's final - after beating Capilano in the semis on Friday night. - Brian Jones Photo

If you look at the tournament draw for the PacWest men’s basketball playoffs, it probably won’t be surprising to see that the Vancouver Island University Mariners (VIU) and the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves (UNBC) will be playing for gold tonight.

They finished the regular season with the two best records, VIU at 15-1 and UNBC 13-3. They boast the two most experienced starting lineups with a combined 39 collegiate seasons between the two.

They’ve also been in this same situation for the past two years, with UNBC coming out on top in 2010 – going on to win gold at nationals – and VIU prevailing last year – claiming CCAA bronze.

But regular season accomplishments, veteran experience, and a successful past doesn’t pave the way to the provincial finals. These two teams had to go to war with two formidable foes to reach their primetime matchup on Saturday night.

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Lum keeps the Blues on point and outlasts Langara in PacWest quarterfinal

Capilano guard James Lum floats a runner over Langara’s Ranjodh Hare during the quarterfinals of the 2012 PacWest Championships on Thursday, Mar. 3. – Brian Jones Photo

If the Capilano University Blues and Langara College Falcons had played a 10-game series instead of a single-knockout match last night, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been split right down the middle at five apiece.

But this is the PacWest playoffs – not a Fischer-Spassky chess championship – so the Blues took full advantage of the winner-take-all format and narrowly beat the Falcons 85-77 Thursday night at Capilano University’s Sportsplex.

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