More than 4,800 fans were on hand on Saturday night to watch Abbotsford's Yale Lions defeated Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox Ravens 69-63.

More than 4,800 fans were on hand on Saturday night to watch Abbotsford's Yale Lions defeated Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox Ravens 69-63.

Packed house watches as Lions crowned hardcourt kings

Events Centre keeps busy with hoops action as eight provincial champions crowned in three-week span

  • Mar. 16, 2015 10:00 a.m.

One hundred and twenty-eight games, more than 700 players and thousands of fans.

Those are the final numbers as March Madness came to a close on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.

The facility hosted four senior boys provincial basketball championships — 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A — over the course of four days last week.

And when all was said and done, the Kelowna Christian Knights, St. Michael’s University Blue Jags, Fleetwood Park Dragons and Yale Lions had been crowned champions in their respective divisions.

Altogether, 64 senior boys basketball teams played a total of 128 games.

This latest round of championships also wrapped up a busy three-week stretch at the LEC as the facility hosted the junior boys provincial championships (32 teams, 80 games) at the end of February and then the junior girls, 2A senior girls and 3A senior girls provincial tournaments (48 teams, 96 games) in early March.

“There was a real buzz in the air among the spectators and the players,” said Paul Eberhardt, the president of the B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association.

“We were extremely pleased with it. For a very long time, we have had a goal of trying to have all our championships in one place and at the same time.

“And for the first time, we couldn’t have been happier with how it went.”

He expects the tournaments to return to the LEC once the dates are finalized.

“It is definitely in our wishes and our plans to be there for a while,” Eberhardt said.

Eberhardt said that the spectators enjoyed being able to go from court to court — four courts were in action all at the same time — if one game wasn’t holding their attention.

“If a game wasn’t that good, they could just go to another court,” he said.

“And the crowds were certainly indicative. This was the largest crowds we have ever had in the four years at the Langley Events Centre.”

“It was a really good three weeks,” said Jared Harman, the director of business development for the LEC.

“From an attendance standpoint, numbers were up from last year.”

The 4A senior boys championship final between Abbotsford’s Yale Lions and Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Ravens, drew 4,876 fans in a thrilling contest in which the Lions prevailed 69-63.

Harman said final numbers are expected later this week.

“Hosting the girls the week before really allowed both genders to have the spotlight, make it special for all competitors,” Harman said.

“All the different tiers were able to come together and support the sport.”

There were three local teams competing this past weekend, with the Credo Christian Kodiaks delivering a best-ever finish for the school at the 1A tournament. The Kodiaks just missed the podium placing fourth.

The Langley Christian Kodiaks placed eighth in the 2A tournament while the Walnut Grove Gators were ninth in the 4A division.

In the earlier tournaments, the Brookswood Bobcats won the 3A senior girls title while Walnut Grove won bronze in junior boys action. And the ’Cats junior girls placed 15th.

Brookswood’s win in the 3A final drew more than 2,000 fans to the game, which is believed to be the largest crowd to ever watch a high school girls’ basketball game in the province.

The tournaments ran relatively smoothly.

“Whenever you are running an event of any kind, there are always little elements, but nothing crazy,” Harman said.

“You learn new things when you put all the different events together.”

Eberhardt said there were a few minor glitches — things which were out of their control — and they will now poll the coaches and officials to see what can be improved on moving forward.