Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators will play for bronze at the Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament at the Langley Events Centre. Gators were knocked out of the gold medal game Monday, Feb. 24th, by the St. Patrick Celtics from Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Vancouver Sports Pictures)

Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators will play for bronze at the Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament at the Langley Events Centre. Gators were knocked out of the gold medal game Monday, Feb. 24th, by the St. Patrick Celtics from Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Vancouver Sports Pictures)

Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators will play for bronze

Knocked out of finals at the Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament in Langley

Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators will play for bronze at the Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament at the Langley Events Centre.

Gators were knocked out of the gold medal final game Monday by the St. Patrick Celtics from Vancouver.

For the first 16 minutes, it was back-and-forth with St. Patrick scoring the first four points and the Gators rattling off the next 10. The Celtics led 12-11 after one quarter and 32-29 at the half.

“They just started getting confident. All tournament, we haven’t really played well … we have a bunch of young kids, so lack of experience, the crowd and everything, but I think they just started to settle down in the second half,” Celtics coach John Boateng explained. “It was the first time I had seen them poised and playing like we had been playing all season long and they rode it out all the way to the end of the game.”

The Celtics were up 17 with a quarter to go and while Walnut Grove was able to get the deficit down to single digits, nine points was as close as they could get.

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After their 75-61 win over the Gators, the Celtics will face the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs in an all-Vancouver final which pits the top two seeds.

Bulldogs topped the Kelowna Owls 80-60 on Monday night.

“Last year as Grade 9s they came second so they know exactly what it is like to be here and to lose that last game,” said head coach Rob Bayne. “They are going to be focused and ready to go.”

The Bulldogs – who entered the Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament at Langley Events Centre as the second seed among the 32 teams – overcame some first-quarter jitters which saw them fall behind 11-4 but go on to defeat the No. 3 Kelowna Owls 80-60 in Monday’s first semi-final contest.

Churchill cut the deficit to 17-10 after one period but the 10 points marked the team’s smallest offensive output in the first 13 quarters of basketball as they had averaged nearly double that in the three prior games.

“We came out really nervous, you could see that,” Bayne said. “I think we got outworked and that’s our thing. If we are not working harder than the other team, we are going to lose any game. Eventually we came around, outworked them and probably played a little smarter down the stretch and that was the difference.

Tuesday night’s championship final is on the LEC South Court and tips off at 7 p.m.

Walnut Grove will play Kelowna in the bronze-medal game at 5:30 p.m. on South Court.

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Gators fans cheered on the Langley team at the Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament at the Langley Events Centre. Gators were knocked out of the gold medal game Monday, Feb. 24th, by the St. Patrick Celtics from Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Vancouver Sports Pictures)

Gators fans cheered on the Langley team at the Junior Boys Basketball Provincial Invitational Tournament at the Langley Events Centre. Gators were knocked out of the gold medal game Monday, Feb. 24th, by the St. Patrick Celtics from Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Vancouver Sports Pictures)