Hass's lucky three lifts Kelowna Christian into AA final

Jordan Haas nearly pivoted himself dizzy, then threw up a prayer that had no chance of going in.

It went in and, just like that, the Kelowna Christian Knights are in the provincial AA boys basketball final.

The Knights defeated the Surrey-Holy Cross Crusaders 67-54 in a semifinal Friday at the Tournament Capital Centre. Kelowna Christian will take on Mill Bay-Brentwood College in today's final, 4 p.m., at the TCC.

The Knights led for much of the game's last three quarters, but the Crusaders were marching in the fourth quarter.

With Kelowna Christian up four with 2:03 remaining, Hass was facing the dying seconds of the shot clock. He spun and heaved a prayer from about Lorne Street. It went SWISH!, and Holy Cross never recovered

"I didn't think about it," said Hass, a Grade 12 guard. "I stepped back . . . the shot clock was running down . . . I threw it up and it happened to go in."

The teams' head coaches, despite differing viewpoints for the shot, saw the same thing.

"We're about to turn the game in our favour, and (Hass), from five feet outside the three-point line, turns and heaves it," said Holy Cross's Matthew LeChasseur. "It went in, and that kind of hurt."

"That was the clincher," said Kelowna Christian's Eva Linttell. "That was the one that let us say, 'We're done. We've got it.' "

Kelowna Christian got 20 points from Ryan Linttell, 13 apiece from Ethan Klukas and Daniel Seinen and 10 from Hass.

Henry Maduabueke had 28 points for the Crusaders, and Taylor Browne had 13.

The Crusaders had a size advantage, but the Knights were able to grind down Holy Cross and never allowed big men Aaron Madaisky and Stanley Maduabueke to get into a rhythm.

"That was our whole focus," Eva Linttell said. "We knew that their whole game is inside . . . it worked perfectly. It was beautiful. It was poetry in motion."

LeChasseur saw it differently.

"We didn't get many calls inside, and it's tough to call a good inside game," he said. "We're a pretty physical team, and it could have changed the game if we had gotten a few more calls.

"At the end of the day, we had a chance to take the game over, and the ball just didn't bounce our way."

The Knights had dozens of fans out Friday, and they stormed the court as the clock ran out. It's a big deal for the small school, which normally plays A ball.

This group of Knights players has been together since elementary school and wanted to make a run in its final year.

"They were able to bind together as a team and felt that whatever happened, win or lose, they're here together, unified, and playing the best they can," Linttell said. "They are such a unified team - they're selfless and they work so well together that it makes other teams wonder what they have.

"They have a brotherhood here."

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The Sa-Hali Sabres boys will play for 13th place today.

The Sabres knocked off the Delta-Delview Raiders 80-48 on Friday. Sa-Hali will take on the Nelson-L.V. Rogers Bombers today, 12:30 p.m., at NorKam secondary.

Liam Epp had 18 points to lead the Sabres. Ben Phillips had 12 points and Tanner Carswell and Russell Dolson each added 10 to the winning cause.

The Sabres were without point guard Noah Marchand. Marchand broke a finger at Okanagans last month, but was playing through it. He ended up breaking a wrist on Thursday.

Wowie Untalan had 10 points for Delview.

mhunter@kamloopsnews.ca

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