The Langara Falcons are heading to nationals after defeating the Victoria Island University Mariners 90-84 to win the PacWest provincial basketball championship for a second consecutive time.
An amazing regular season
The Falcons returned to the provincial finals March 1 after a nearly perfect regular season, finishing 20-1 to tie the PacWest record they set last year.
Langara’s reigning provincial champs opened the weekend at Douglas College with a 97-76 win over the Capilano Blues in the semi-finals before taking on the 2013 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association national champions.
In the provincial gold medal rematch against the VIU Mariners, the Falcons stormed out to an early 12-point lead.
Brody Greig weaved past the defence in the first quarter to score eight of his 33 points. Greig finished with eight rebounds, five assists and the honour of tournament MVP.
Breakaway fourth quarter
Despite poor shooting in the second quarter, Langara held onto the lead until VIU gained momentum in the last five minutes of the first half.
Brandon Jones, Mariners guard and league leader in points shrugged off his slow start and began piling up his game total of 32 points and 13 rebounds.
After Liam Horne capped off VIU’s 22-3 run with a buzzer-beating, one-handed, three-point heave, Langara headed into halftime down 43-38.
Both teams continued to trade blows in the third quarter, but the Falcons started to pull away in the fourth.
Langara’s Elliot Mason stepped up to score 15 of his 19 points to take the lead.
“He hit some key [shots], a couple of threes just at the right time to get the momentum in our favour. It was huge,” said Langara coach Paul Eberhardt.
VIU kept it close, but the 36 points they allowed in the fourth quarter made it too difficult for the Mariners to overcome.
Langara will be heading to the CCAA national tournament at Quest University in Squamish as the No. 1 team in the country. After taking the bronze last year, the Falcons are aiming for gold.
“We are a team hungry for a national championship,” Mason said.
“A provincial championship is a stepping stone to our team’s ultimate goal.”
Coach Eberhardt agreed.
“It’s going to be tough, but our goal is to bring back that national championship to Langara.”
Reported by Leslie Kam