Their coach knew they could do it, but getting the players to believe was another story.
“Provincials was a realistic goal in my mind,” said Langley Christian basketball coach Jordan Maryniuk.
“It was more of a challenge to get the guys to believe they could do it.”
And the Lightning senior boys did it, qualifying for first time for the B.C. 2A senior boys provincial basketball championships. Langley Christian has previously competed at the Single A level.
The Lightning were playing at the Fraser Valley championships over the weekend at North Delta’s Delview Secondary, finishing fourth to grab the final berth for next week’s provincial championships at the Langley Events Centre (March 11 to 14).
Langley Christian lost 96-56 to the Delview Raiders in the bronze medal game. This came three days after the Lightning shocked Delview 81-79 in the quarter-finals. The Raiders were ranked fourth in the province while the Lightning are unranked.
The team has lost to the G.W. Graham Grizzlies 92-68 in the semifinals following their big win over the Raiders, so the Lightning needed to beat Archbishop Carney to stay alive. And they came through, prevailing 74-63.
“It was a big relief (to win that game),” Maryniuk said. “We were mentally exhausted at that point.”
He was referring to the big win over Delview and then the fact the game against the Grizzlies was delayed 45 minutes as more than half the Lightning team arrived late because they got caught behind an accident en route to the game.
“We went into that game pretty frazzled,” the coach admitted.
But fourth place in the Fraser Valley was about what he expected, considering the level of competition and talent in the region.
The season has been up and down for the Lightning.
They won the Christian schools’ tournament but then went to a tournament in Salmon Arm and returned winless.
Langley Christian Brennan Gardner was named a Fraser Valley second team all-star.
The Lightning are seeded No. 14 for provincials and open against No. 3 Golden on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.