Titans welcomed home as first boys provincial basketball champions

By Chad Klassen
March 12, 2018 - 6:26pm Updated: March 12, 2018 - 8:47pm

KAMLOOPS — The players walked through the hallways of South Kamloops Secondary School on Monday morning with their heads high, trophy in hands, and their ears ringing from all the cheers from their fellow students, who lined the hallways to welcome them back home after they became the first boys team in school history to win a provincial title. 

"We're just creating history. It's great. We're immortal," said tournament MVP Nick Sarai, who had 28 points in the 74-66 win over Burnaby's Byrne Creek.  

It's all the Titans really wanted after heartbreak in the 2017 final. It showed when the final buzzer hit zeros and the players swarmed centre court.. It was relief that they finished a job they came so close to in a six-point loss to Rick Hansen last season. 

"Oh it's a special feeling, really special," said Grade 12 guard Reid Jansen. "That's never been done obviously and I'm happy for my team, for the city, our school. Amazing."

The boys stumbled through the opener in a narrow 58-51 win over 15th-ranked Carihi Secondary School from Campbell River. But after the Round of 16 win, the Titans, on the back of tournament MVP Nick Sarai, never looked back. 

In the final against the No. 1 team in the province, Byrne Creek from Burnaby, Sarai added to his tournament totals with 28 points, but South Kam also received contributions from all around the win the B.C. title. 

"Just a sigh of relief," said Sarai. "All the hard work, all the dedication Tim [Unaegbu] has put in with us and all of our coaches and everyone was just focused this tournament. There was no fooling around. We knew what the job was. Just getting it done, just everyone came together, that special moment. Hugs everywhere, everyone on the ground. It was crazy."

South Kamloops were crowned champions without their suspended head coach Tim Unaegbu, who watched all four games online from his hotel room before joining his team for the on-court celebration following the championship win. 

Jansen said being without Unaegbu added fuel to the winning mentality. 

"Having Tim Unaegbu not being there gave us a real push," he noted. "That was really sad that Tim wasn't able to be there. That really gave us an extra push to win it for him."

BCMML Blazers looking forward to first playoff series in a decade