The Salmon Arm Synergy U-17 boys’ basketball team travelled to Langley on Sept. 18-20 to compete in the Bball National Tournament.
In their opening game, Synergy played Vancouver’s Split-Second Cobras and appeared a bit nervous and a bit flat. Despite the fact that Beckett Johnson was unstoppable (28pts), the Cobras used their size and strength, combined with some excellent outside shooting, to take the match 58-48.
The second game against the Surrey Southside featured a number of lead changes, but the Salmon Arm boys were able to conquer their nerves from the opening game and went on to win 53-48.
Again, Beckett led the way on both offense and defense and was awarded the Player of the Game award.
In the final game of the pool play, the Synergy took on Excel Hoops from Coquitlam. This was another close game that featured some intense defense and great shooting.
Finn Rodwell ignited the offense with his timely 3-point bombs and, with three regulars on the bench injured for the final three minutes, the team relied on their tough defense and unselfish play to pull off a 66-60 victory. Finn was awarded the Player of the Game award for his performance.
Having finished in first place in Pool play, the boys earned a semi-final rematch against the Split-Second Cobras. This was yet another intense game but, unlike their first match, the Synergy didn’t appear nervous.
Scoring was balanced and, despite the Cobra’s size advantage, the suffocating defense unleashed by the Synergy helped to neutralize that threat. Jaden Brennan had his best game of the tournament, scoring from both inside and “downtown.”
With a half minute left in the game, and hanging onto a three-point lead, Finnstole an in-bounds pass and made a power move to score while being fouled. He completed the three-point play and helped punch the ticket to the Championship game with a 67-61 victory.
Jaden received the Player of the Game award for his dominant performance on both offence and defence.
The Championship Final featured Salmon Arm Synergy and Rise from Saskatchewan. Rise was a big, strong team that had cruised to the final undefeated. This game would prove to be another nailbiter. However, the boys continued to learn from their past successes. Synergy showed how they could play as a team, as different people stepped up, making critical plays at critical moments. The game wasn’t decided until the final buzzer, when all 10 players battled for a rebound under the Synergy hoop, before it fittingly ended up in Beckett’s hands.
The players, coaches and fans stormed the floor to celebrate the 59-57 victory – and accept the Bball Nationals Championship trophy.
Rowan Trow, playing with an injured shoulder, hit some timely three pointers and played tenacious defence. He was named the Player of the Game. Beckett Johnson was a deserving recipient of the Tourney MVP medal. However, the team’s success was truly the definition of Synergy: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”