By the time you pick up this paper, the New Westminster Hyacks will have secured either a headline for one of the biggest upsets of the season, or signed off for 2019.
The senior boys basketball team was due to meet archrival Burnaby South on Wednesday evening, past the Record’s deadline, in a must-win game at the Lower Mainland 4-A championships in Richmond.
A rematch of the Burnaby-New West league playoff final, this re-enactment was not suppose to happen – at least not this early.
But by using an ineligible player in their opening game at the tourney -- as ruled by B.C. School Sports -- the ensuing forfeiture knocked the Rebels from the final four and into the consolation bracket.
It’s a challenge that Hyacks coach Ted Cusick said will be the ultimate test.
“This is a season-ender for one team,” he noted of the do-or-die match. “We go in there with nothing to lose and a lot of people cheering for us.”
Had Burnaby South not been stripped of their original win, New West would have faced a less imposing opponent in Killarney. Now, they need to shut down the No. 4-ranked squad in the province.
The Hyacks have already bounced back from their first loss at the Mainlands, topping Burnaby Central 98-81 last Friday to stave off elimination.
Luke Burton led New West with 27 points, while Gavin Bhullar counted 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Mo Al-Ghreibawi contributed 16 points and Kirk Bothwell added 10.
The winner of Wednesday’s battle would go on to play today (Thursday), 8 p.m. against the loser of the Kitsilano-St. George’s semifinal. The team would need to win one more game to claim the third-and-final berth to the 4-A provincials.
All games are at the Richmond Oval.