Stifling defence and balanced scoring led the Walnut Grove Gators to the Langley district championship title.
The Grade 8 boys basketball team won the title for the fourth straight season after posting a 50-26 victory over the Brookswood Bobcats on Thursday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre.
The Gators held the Bobcats to a single basket in the first quarter and five points in the fourth.
“We have become much better defensively since the beginning of the year,” said Gators co-coach George Kozlovic.
Walnut Grove was the top seed at 8-0 while Brookswood was second at 7-1.
During league play, only Gators opponent managed to crack the 30-point barrier, and teams averaged 23 points against Walnut Grove.
By comparison, the Gators offence was good for 55 points per game, with multiple scoring options.
In the district final, Daniel Stead caught fire in the third quarter, scoring 10 consecutive points — including a pair of three-pointers — for the Gators.
Wei Chung also had 10 points while John Lipp had eight.
For Brookswood, Fraser Sutherland led the way with 16 points.
Both teams, as well as Langley Fundamental and H.D. Stafford — who finished third and fourth — advanced to the Fraser Valley championships.
“There is lots of potential with this team,” said Gators co-coach Terry Stead.
“And they are starting to get it.”
The key, agreed both coaches, will be for the team to have multiple scoring options for when opponents bear down on Chung, the team’s point guard and catalyst.
“We have the potential to be very good, but our lack of finish, that is our fear, that it is going to hurt us in a big game,” Kozlovic said.
Walnut Grove is seeded second in the 32-team Fraser Valley championships, which begin Tuesday (Feb. 21). They host the G.W. Graham Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m.
Brookswood is seeded 12th, while Langley Fundamental is 17th and Stafford is 20th. All three play their opening round game out of town.