Celtics Repeat at 2023 Provincial Championships

Irish Coquia celebrates the provincial championship with his family.
St. Pats takes a team photos with their provincial championship trophies.
Dover Bay #10 pulls up for a mid-range jump shot.

Everyone expects a Championship game to be loud and rowdy. Expectations are running high, and emotions are at their peak. The anticipation for the next 90 minutes is the most nerve-eating moment for the spectators, and yet it is something they look forward to and crave in a high-stakes game.

The St. Patrick Celtics came to face the Dover Bay Dolphins at the Langley Events Center Saturday night after a long trek to the 2023 Provincial 3A Championship Final. While the Celtics and the Dolphins were eager to start, the electricity in the LEC was wild with anticipation of what was no doubt a heavy game for both schools. The fight for the lead in the first quarter was intense. The Dolphins and the Celtics went shot-for-shot. The Dolphins showed how dangerous they were on both ends of the court. The Celtics had counted on how strenuous it would be to come around and shock the Dolphins.

With Dover Bay leading by 6 points at the start of the second quarter (24-18), St. Patrick came out of the quarter break hungry to gain the lead. Irish Coquia helped the Celtics take the lead  with 5 minutes left until halftime.

However, the Dolphins took it upon themselves to ensure their lead, heading into half-time with a slime 1-point advantage. Dolphins 41, Celtics 40.

Forecasting how the next 20 minutes would play out was futile in this game. After an intense 5-minutes into the third quarter, Dover Bay had only just held onto the lead. 

The Celtics chased after the Dolphins, showing that they were still in this game. The Celtics pushed themselves in the final minutes of the quarter. Jovin Sunner and Coquia made it happen with their back-to-back three-point shots, hastily taking the lead from under Dover Bay. The Celtics finally led going into the last 10 minutes, 68-65. 

Dover Bay in their haste to retake the lead they held all game, made mistakes that the Celtics took advantage of and made count for them. The Celtics, begrudgingly, held on to their small advantage and increased it to a 10-point lead halfway through the quarter. 

The Dolphins desperately tried to catch up to the Celtics, but the Celtics made it hard for them to make any advancements. With the clock working in their favour, the Celtics kept striking the Dolphins to secure their 10-point lead. In the final minute, the final buzzer confirmed the St. Patricks Celtics as the 2023 3A Provincial Champions. 

While the Dolphins were strong to keep their heads held high, the Celtics did the incredible coming back from trailing for most of the game to become back-to-back champs.

Coach Nap Santos had said he could not have been prouder for his boys, who worked hard to get that lead.

Irish Coquia had won Most Valuable Player, pulling through with 30-points in the game, alongside his teammate Jovin Sunner who had also put up 30-points. 

“It was a hard-fought battle by Dover ”, said Irish Coquia. “ I’m just happy that we ended up with the win… we knew from the start that it was going to be a hard game, but we knew our potential, and when we stopped to listen to our coaches at the height of it, anything was possible, I’m super proud of my team”.

Congratulations to the St. Patrick Celtics for capturing the 3A Provincial Championship.

Tejpaul Garcha

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