Cats dig down to win one for Coach D, capture West Kootenay Hoop Crown

first_imgJohnny Johnson and Oliver Cougur combined for 26 points to lead the Mount Sentinel Wildcats to an emotional 42-38 victory over the L.V. Rogers Bombers the final of the West Kootenay High School Junior Boy’s Basketball Championships Friday at the South Slocan-based school gymnasium.The win was the first time that most people can remember that a junior boy’s team from Mount Sentinel has defeated its district rivals to win the West Kootenay crown.“The team was carrying a heavy heart and feeling a lot of pressure to perform to the best of their ability in front of the school community in order to deliver on a promise to win this game for Coach D,” Mount Sentinel principal turned coach Glen Campbell said after the victory.Campbell along with Ken Wiens skippered the team after coach Blair D’Andrea died suddenly.A Celebration of life was held for D’Andrea at Mount Sentinel Thursday and Friday, after the WK tournament, at the LVR Hangar.“The difficulty for any team in this situation is being able to keep your mind focused on the task at hand as opposed to the outcome and the constant reminders of their beloved Coach,” Campbell added. The pressure was evident on the faces of the Wildcats early in the game as the visiting Bombers built up an early 23-7 lead in the second quarter.However, Mount Sentinel began chipping away at the margin and, once the hosts gained the momentum, there was nothing that was going to stop this juggernaut.“Filling in for Coach D was friend and colleague Ken Wiens who did a great job at keeping the guys settled down and focused on the moment so that a comeback was possible,” Campbell explained.“It finally materialized with about two minutes to go in the game before Mt. Sentinel took the lead for the first time and held on for a four point margin of victory.”Johnson topped all scorers with 16 points while Oliver Cougur added 10.Replying for the Bombers was Avery Kusher with 10 and S. Wang with 11.“In my 25 years of coaching experience in high school sports this will go down as one of my most rewarding days because the selfless gift that coaches give of their time felt like the team was able to pay that back a little in memory and tribute to Coach D and his Family,” said Campbell, who spoke on behalf of coach Blair D’Andrea during Friday’s Celebration of Life at the Hangar.“We all needed a feel good moment given the difficulty of dealing with his sudden loss to us all.”last_img

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