In the dying seconds of the third quarter, Vanier Crusaders’ Lorem Lumanog drove to the net and let loose an underhanded shot that would tie the game at the buzzer.
That buzzer-beater was a spark that helped the team catch fire in the fourth quarter.
The Crusades out-scored the Porter Creek Rams in the fourth to take a 66-61 win and the junior boys title at the Yukon Basketball Championships on Friday at Vanier Catholic Secondary.
“When you’re dealing with high school kids, if you can have something like that go off, it can feel like there’s six guys on the floor,” said Mike Gallant, acting head coach for the Crusaders. “I couldn’t be any prouder of the boys. They did great.”
Lumanog’s buzzer basket was the first of an eight-point run that made the difference in the end. He sunk two more to start the fourth and finished the game with 20 points.
The Crusaders then grew the lead to 57-49 on a three-pointer from Dave Mindanao, who was playing on a sprained ankle he suffered in the semifinal. Mindanao led the game in scoring, finishing with 22 points, and was named championship MVP.
“It’s so great, I can’t explain it,” said Mindanao. “It’s great to get it.”
“We pushed ourselves in the fourth quarter to win the game and we did it,” he added.
Robert Smallwood led the charge for the Rams, putting 19 points on the board. Teammate Jarred Peterson contributed 13 points and Darcy Larochelle 10.
“These teams battled hard all year and the better team won in the end, but it’s not because we didn’t try hard,” said Rams head coach Paul MacDonald. “I always tell my players, and I’m sure Mike gives the same message, if at the end you can look your fellow teammates in the eyes and say, ‘I did my best,’ it doesn’t matter the score, you win. It sounds cliche, but we believe it at Porter Creek.
“We’re not always the most skilled basketball players, but our work ethic is there.”
A team from F.H. Collins Secondary beat another team from F.H. Collins to take the bronze.
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Anshil Kumar (Warriors)
Jowe Pagabo (Crusaders)
Jarred Peterson (Rams)
Lorem Lumanog (Crusaders)
Robert Smallwood (Rams)
MVP Dave Mindanao (Crusaders)