Quinten Pearson’s free throws, with no time on the clock, broke a 54-54 tie to give the Lake City Basketball’s U16 boys the bronze division championship of the B.C. Spring Showcase at SFU.
Pearson was fouled in the dying seconds by a Orangemen player giving him the opportunity to win the game for the Penticton team.
Lake City earned the right to be in the final with a strong defensive game against the West Coast U17 squad, winning 30-27.
Up until that game, West Coast was averaging 65 points a game and Penticton head coach Raj Dhillon described his club’s defence in the game as “phenomenal.”
Lake City opened the tournament with a 48-23 win over South Delta U17 led by Tyson Dounangpanya, who had 18 points and five steals.
Game two proved to be the only hiccup in Penticton’s tourney results, losing a 40-39 heartbreaker to Excel U17.
“Biggest factor was our level of competitiveness. Every player that got onto the court competed. We have some really young players, including Jaras Grant, Ben McLeod and Tavian Gaudiuso, who are competing against kids two years older than them but just don’t give an inch,” said Dhillon.
“Our last two games we were down as much as 10 points in the second half but the boys never stopped competing.”
He added that because most of their opponents are significantly bigger in size, it leaves a much smaller margin for error.
“We have to outwork and out battle teams to compete. Nickita Sergeev, McCleod, Pearson, Richter Heintz and Joey McCully competed really well on the glass and defending the other teams’ bigs,” said Dhillon adding about his key players: “Dounangpanya, Pearson, Marco Chen Lin and Jacob Mullins are our leaders. They lead us scoring but their biggest contributions are staying mentally strong and keeping their composure when we got down in games. “
He added communication at both ends of the court is one of the areas of further growth for the club, especially with players who have not played together before.
Next up for the team is the annual ProHop Classic tournament in Kamloops which begins Friday (May 24).