Nick Sarai of the Titans drives to the hoop during the 3A title game on Saturday. (Ben Lypka/Black Press)

Nick Sarai of the Titans drives to the hoop during the 3A title game on Saturday. (Ben Lypka/Black Press)

South Kamloops Titans win 3A basketball crown

Titans defeat Byrne Creek 74-66 in title game

Redemption was finally earned for the South Kamloops Titans on Saturday.

The Titans were heartbroken in the 2017 3A senior boys final, falling to the Rick Hansen Hurricanes after leading for the majority of the title game.

But 2018 was a different story, as the Titans started off red-hot and turned on the after burners late to defeat the Byrne Creek Bulldogs 74-66 and win the 3A title.

Sam Jean’s corner three with 49 seconds to go was the dagger, but the Titans were led by tournament most valuable player Nick Sarai, who scored 28 point and grabbed nine rebounds. Sarai was also money from the free throw line, making a perfect 12 of 12.

“He was unbelievable,” said Titans assistant coach Bryce McMillan moments after the game. “He stepped his game up like I’d never seen before. He didn’t shy away from the moment, he wanted the ball.”

McMillan said it took a lot to shake off the bitter disappointment of 2017.

“We knew we had the talent to come back but we had to put in the work and these kids definitely did,” he said. “It took just a lot of determination, heart and grit.”

Ripley Martin also excelled for the Titans, with 16 points and 12 boards.

The Titans took down Pitt Meadows on Friday, Richmond on Thursday and Carihi on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs towering forward Majok Deng earned top defensive player of the tournament, and he didn’t disappoint in the final by collecting six blocks. Martin Djunga scored a team-high 25 points, while Bithow Wan scored 16 points to go with 16 rebounds.

Byrne Creek’s run to the final included wins over Caledonia, Sir Charles Tupper and North Delta.

For complete tournament results, visit bchighschoolbasketballchampionships.com/3aboys.

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