Spurred on by injured guard, St. Patrick Celtics claim Triple A hoops provincial banner

With Kaden Carrion in a wheelchair beside the St. Patrick Celtics bench, his Vancouver squad came from behind to defeat Surrey’s Elgin Park Orcas 56-52 for the Triple A title

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St. Patrick Celtics standout guard Kaden Carrion broke his leg Thursday at the Triple A boys basketball provincial championships, had surgery on it Friday and was providing inspiration for his team courtside on Saturday.

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With Carrion in a wheelchair beside the Celtics bench, his Vancouver squad came from behind to defeat Surrey’s Elgin Park Orcas 56-52 at the Langley Events Center to claim the BC crown.

With Elgin Park up 46-40 and three minutes to play, Celtics guard Irish Coquia took over. St. Patrick went on a 14-4 run to claim a 54-50 lead by the time Coquia fouled out with 10.3 seconds remaining. Coquia had 12 points and an assist during that surge.

In the 40-minute contest, top-seeded St. Patrick had the lead on No. 2 Elgin Park for all of two minutes, 25 seconds. It’s easy to wonder if there was a little added karma on their side.

“We went to see him at the hospital yesterday before our game and that gave us inspiration,” St. Patrick coach Nap Santos said of a visit to see Carrion prior to a 91-61 win over the No. 4 AR MacNeill Ravens of Richmond in Friday’s semi-finals. “And today he’s here. He had his surgery, it was successful, everything went well.

“Having him here made everything.”

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Coquia, who was named the tournament MVP, finished the game with 29 points, six rebounds, three assist and six steals. He was, of course, his most noticeable on the night in that late stretch.

The Celtics shot 58.3 per cent (7-of-12) from the floor in the fourth quarter. In the first three quarters, they shot 26.9 per cent (14-of-52).

“That was all heart. He wasn’t having the best game and I pulled him over and said ‘It’s your time.’ And it was his time of him, ”Santos said of Coquia.

Forward Joey Panghulan had 13 points and seven rebounds for St. Patrick. Forward Lucas Roling had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Elgin Park, who led 23-8 after the first quarter and a 29-23 at halftime. The Orcas were outscored 22-12 in the fourth quarter.

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The core of the Celtics team is in Grade 11. They lost in the Grade 8 provincial final in 2019, falling 63-61 in overtime to the Burnaby South Rebels.

They won the junior provincial crown with a largely Grade 9 crew in 2020, beating the crosstown Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs 82-79 in the championship game. Coquia was again MVP, hitting a key three-pointer with 17.4 seconds left in the final en route to a game-high 31 points.

“I’m calling it now — if there was no COVID we would have won the junior banner and gone back-to-back,” Santos said. “During COVID, they were at my house, doing box jumps, doing resistance bands, putting up 300 to 400 shots a day. We were putting in the work. We were ready for this moment.”

Carrion broke his leg in St. Patrick’s Thursday matchup with Surrey’s Princess Margaret Lions. The game was called with 1:26 to go in the third quarter and the Celtics leading 74-49.

Princess Margaret suggested calling off the game, saying that St Patrick already had it well in hand and they didn’t want to force the Celtics to keep playing when Carrion was on his way to the hospital.

Carrion had 14 points and five steals that night. Coquia had 33 points.

Coquia had 28 points and 19 rebounds against RA MacNeill.

In other provincial finals on Saturday, Unity Christian beat Glenlyon Norfolk 89-71 in Single A and Westsyde edged Lambrick Park 73-71 in Double A.

[email protected]

Twitter: @SteveEwen

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