The Mission Roadrunners shouldn’t have gotten out of the Fraser Valleys, but the senior boys basketball team surprised everyone and placed first.
The lack of faith continued as the AA team entered the provincials last week. Lo and behold, MSS shocked onlookers and blew past all competitors, clawing their way into the finals against the South Okanagan Hornets, but ultimately losing in overtime by five points.
The Hornets should have obliterated MSS. They’re bigger, stronger and have a ridiculously tight offense, said MSS coach Jim Pearce.
The Hornets were burying teams by 30 points, and with a quartet of solid shooters, it appeared that the Roadrunners’ luck had run out.
But Mission’s focus all season has been on containment. They’re not the best scoring team, but their suffocating defense has frustrated opponents.
Co-coach Danny Jakobs drew up a game plan that focused on minimizing South Okanagan’s biggest four threats, and early in the game, it didn’t look like it was working.
“We came off slow and were down 20-9 after the first quarter,” said Pearce. A slight attitude adjustment saw Mission regain its centre and nail shots from all over, going on a nine-point run at the start of the second and tieing the game at 29 at the half.
Mission was up by three after the third quarter and “now everyone’s cheering for us,” said Pearce.
The Roadrunners were down by four with 30 seconds to go when Luke Morris sunk a three-pointer to help the team tie it up.
MSS’ key starters fouled out in OT and the Hornets claimed the prize by five points, 71-66.
“We were a little disappointed, especially when you’re that close,” said Pearce, who noted the team’s goal for the year was to make the provincial semi-finals.
“The kids just never stopped working. We always told them the harder you work, the luckier you get.”