The Fleetwood Park Dragons and the Semiahmoo Thunderbirds had the Langley Events Center rocking in a game to remember. There is power in the school pride, and the students did not disappoint in showing love to their boys on the court. After a challenging journey in this tournament, the Dragons came into the championship game with determination. Nonetheless, the Thunderbirds were the team to watch throughout the game. As South Fraser Champs, the Thunderbirds walked into the crazed LEC with resolution.
The Dragons and Thunderbirds clashed and fought for the lead. The Thunderbirds matched the Dragons bucket-for-bucket early. The game started slow, and halfway through the first quarter, the scoreboard showed a tally of 4-2 in the Thunderbird’s favour.
The Thunderbirds Torian Lee maneuvered through the Dragon’s defence, generating momentum plays for Semiahmoo. Shortly after, the Thunderbirds led 16-8. The Dragons had allowed plenty of open shots for the Thunderbirds to take advantage of but battled back into the game ending the quarter trailing the Semiahmoo by 3.
The game was still up for grabs, and the Dragons came into the second quarter desperate toshift the momentum in their favour. They came in ready to gain what they fought for all tournament. The Thunderbirds struggled in the first 3 minutes to keep their footing. Still in the lead, the Thunderbirds pushed until the last 2 minutes to gain control of possession on the scoreboard. The dragons were again struggling to score while the Thunderbirds increased their lead by 14 points ending the first half 36-22.
The third quarter started with many questions up in the air. The Thunderbirds and the Dragons put on quite the show of power and dominance. Regardless of the Dragons’ slight slip through the cracks, it was anybody’s game. However, the Thunderbirds had other plans after their short break between halves.
The crowd charged up the Thunderbirds Semiahmoo’s Cole Bekkering started strong with a layup scoring 2 points and 1. Shortly after, Lee and Bekkering netted 3-point shots with ease.
The Thunderbirds extended their lead early in the second half, not allowing the Dragons a chance to score in 4 minutes since they resumed play. The Thunderbirds settled into the scoreboard, 49-23.
Lee continued on the road to win that Championship banner with his team as he laced a 3-point shot for himself. Quickly, the Thunderbirds controlled the plays throughout that third quarter, taking full advantage of the Dragon’s fatigue and struggle to keep up. The quarter ended with the Thunderbirds securing a healthy lead of 28 points, 60-32.
As far as Championship games go, witnessing a blowout is always difficult on both sides. The game carried lots of hope for Fleetwood Park to show a level of dominance toward a strong compact team like Semiahmoo. Even though the Dragons never truly lost the fire that was embedded throughout the competition, the Thunderbirds decided to hammer down the last nail in the last 10 minutes to hold that banner high and proud. Impatience grew, as the Dragons continued to give out as they tried to put up more points and catch up to Semiahmoo.
With a solid finish, the Dragons put up quite the fight to keep up, but to no avail, the Semiahmoo Thunderbirds were crowned 2023’s 4A Provincial Champions. With a final score of 71-40. ThunderbirdsTorian Lee was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“It is our first win as a program, and the first of more to come,” Torian said, excited and enthusiastic about the future.
“We set a new tone and culture for Semiahmoo basketball, it won’t be the last time you’ll see us here,” said Lee.
Lee thanked his Coach for setting a great example for him and his teammates, “ He pushed us every day to be better as people and not just basketball players.”
Torian could contain his love and appreciation for his teammates and the student body for coming out with so much support. His only wish was to continue to grow the legacy of the Semiahmoo Thunderbirds, and what a legacy it will be.