Burnaby South edges out Churchill in finals to win Telus Classic

Burnaby South grade-11 star Jermaine Haley was a force in Saturday's final vs Winston Churchill at the 14th-annual Telus Classic. - Brian Jones Photo

Burnaby South’s grade-11 star Jermaine Haley was a force in Saturday’s final vs Winston Churchill at the 14th-annual Telus Classic. – Brian Jones Photo

The Burnaby South Rebels held a slim 68-67 advantage over the Winston Churchill Bulldogs with about a minute and a half remaining on the clock in the finals of the Telus Basketball Classic.

At that point, I was sitting on the press row next to tournament director Howard Kelsey, and while his mind was most likely preoccupied with thoughts of post-game speeches and scholarship presentations, he couldn’t help but just sit back and enjoy the barnburner that was unfolding before him.

“This couldn’t have been a better end to the tournament,” said Kelsey, summing up in words what the writers around him, the fans above him, and the players and coaches in front of him were surely thinking.

Burnaby South used a huge fourth quarter from its grade-11 players to gut out a 77-75 win over Churchill in the championship final of the 14th-annual Telus Basketball Classic, held at UBC’s War Memorial Gym on Saturday night.

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B.C. ballers motivated after #1-ranked Findlay Prep puts on show in Langley

Kansas commit Kelly Oubre showed absolutely none of what’s tattooed on his right bicep against B.C.’s best this past weekend. - Ron Hole Photo

Kansas commit Kelly Oubre showed absolutely none of what’s tattooed on his right bicep against B.C.’s best this past weekend. – Ron Hole Photo

The Findlay Prep Pilots are not your typical high school basketball team.

Their 12-man roster boasts nine players with a height of over 6-foot-6 and chiseled 200-plus pound frames that seem to be carved from the tools of Michelangelo Naismith himself.

The Pilots have an impressive track record since the program began in 2007, with a list of recent alumni that includes current NBA players DeAndre Liggins, Avery Bradley, Myck Kabongo, Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and last year’s number-one overall pick in the NBA Draft – Anthony Bennett.

The talent that Findlay has cultivated and subsequently produced has been nothing short of phenomenal, and this season’s roster is no exception.

When the Pilots travelled north to Langley, British Columbia this past weekend to take on a pair of B.C. all-star teams as part of the second-annual Tsumura Basketball Invitational (TBI), measuring sticks were abundant.

In the two games, held on back-to-back Saturday and Sunday nights, Findlay beat the pair of TBI Selects squads with relative ease. The lopsided results were expected, with the prep school currently ranked as the number-one program in the United States, but the experience for everyone involved was invaluable.

For the Pilots, it gave them an appreciation for the homegrown local talent that B.C. offers, and for the Canadians, it left them with a sense of worth, and more importantly, motivation – in terms of seeing what can result from relentless hard work and an obsessive devotion to development.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.