You didn’t need political spin to see that the positives outweighed the losses in New Westminster Hyacks’ 72-57 defeat at the hands of the Burnaby South Rebels last week.
It wasn’t a win, but the senior boys faced their toughest test to date, and kept it close.
As Hyacks coach Arno Richter sees it, if but for a raw performance at the free throw line, it would have been much closer.
“Honestly, I’m pretty happy,” said Richter prior to yesterday’s league game against Moscrop (after the Record’s deadline).
“A 15-point loss to a very good team, and that with our free throw shooting really, really badly. With a little bit of luck and an average 60 per cent from the line, it would have been a six-point game.”
New West trailed by just two points after the first quarter and three at halftime before the Rebels blew it open.
Burnaby South, who’ve faced a multitude of ranked rivals in earning their No. 3-rating among 4-A squads, ramped it up in the third quarter.
“It was the start of the third where it kind of came apart,” recalled Richter. “They scored like six quick points on us, and I had to call a timeout. ... (Burnaby South) has a gigantic size advantage, who are all good players and not just big bodies, but I thought we did a good job of staying on them.”
Manraj Phangura counted a double-double for New West, scoring 13 points and pulling in 14 rebounds, while Ramadan Ali netted 14 points.
It came on the heels of New West’s 70-62 victory over Burnaby North, where Phangura tallied 19 points and 15 boards.
The Hyacks head over to play in the Victoria Police Tournament this weekend, opening up against hosts St. Michael’s.
“We’re going over there to win, and based on how we’re playing, particularly from the Burnaby South game, we are capable of doing it. I want to hear a quiet gym (in Victoria),” added Richter.