THE Oak Park Raiders romped to a berth in the championship final of the Wesmen Classic high school boys basketball tournament on Friday.
The Raiders had five players score in double figures as the province's No. 2-ranked team stormed to a 103-60 victory over the Kildonan East Reivers in the tournament's first semifinal game at the University of Winnipeg Duckworth Centre.
The Raiders advance to the championship final on Sunday at 6 p.m. against either the No.1-ranked Garden City Fighting Gophers or the third-ranked St. Paul's Crusaders. Garden City and St. Paul's will square off in the other semifinal today at 4 p.m.
"Our team has been playing really well as a unit, we pass the ball really well and find the open players, and we like the up-tempo game," said Raiders' Grade 11 guard Brenden Alexander, who scored 29 points and was named player of the game. It wasn't the highest scoring game of the season for Alexander. He scored 40 points against the Sturgeon Heights Huskies earlier this season.
"We're excited to be in the final. We played Garden City in the Brandon tournament and we lost to them but we haven't played St. Paul's yet. We're hoping to see Garden City in the final," he said.
Oak Park was beaten by Garden City 99-84 in the final of the Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational Tournament on Dec. 9.
"It's always exciting to be in a tournament final, especially the (Wesmen) Classic when so many people come out to see you," said Oak Park head coach Jon Lundgren. "It's going to be a big matchup, no matter who we play and a great atmosphere for all the kids."
Oak Park got help from Junior Sesay with 24 points, Casey Blanca with 17, Colson Reimer with 16 and Nathan Warburton with 11.
Arshdeep Gill led Kildonan East with 17 points while Ayob Ayob added 10 points.
"There's a lot of attention every game on stopping Junior, teams game-plan for that," Lundgren said, referring to provincial team player Sesay. "But we've got a lot of guys who can have great games offensively and we've got a lot of unselfish guys. Nobody gripes about their points or their minutes. It's just a great group of guys to coach and it's been a lot of fun this year."
The high school boys' final will be played Sunday at 6 p.m. prior to the 8 p.m. university men's final.