It took the Westsyde Whundas senior boys 14 years to get within an inch of the Fulton Cup, and only 6:45 to nearly blow it.
The Whundas held on to beat the Valleyview Vikings 57-54 in the championship final of the preseason city championship at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday. It completed an impressive 3-0 run through the six-team tournament, the Whundas' first Fulton Cup victory since 1999.
Westsyde was in control of this game from about the halfway point of the second quarter until a three-pointer from Scott Barry put the Whundas ahead 55-38 with 6:45 remaining. Whatever the reason, that shot sparked the Vikings, who scored the game's next 16 points to set up a frantic finish.
"They had a great comeback," said Westsyde's Joe Davis, the tournament MVP. "We talked about a strong start, and we followed through with that, came out really hard. We got timid and we didn't play well down the stretch.
"We found a way to win . . . we're champions, I guess."
At first, the Vikings' rally didn't seem to be anything serious. Valleyview cut the lead to 13 with 5:14 remaining; the lead was 11 with 4:10 remaining and eight with three minutes left.
The Vikings kept-a-coming, and Layton Demidoff scored on a breakaway to make it 55-54 with 54 seconds remaining. Westsyde scored its only points of the final 6:45 on the next possession, Joey Mauro going strong to the hoop for a lay-in to make it 57-54.
The Vikings had their chances, missing two free throws and three three-pointers - the last one a halfcourt prayer from Tanner Farber that came up about two inches short - and the Whundas ended up celebrating.
"The last few years, we all really liked this tournament," said Davis, who recently signed with the TRU WolfPack for next season. "We're really happy to finally win it."
Davis ended the game with 22 points, and averaged 26 points per game in the tournament. He was a force, often drawing double- and triple-teams, but still managing to put up points.
But the Whundas also got contributions from players not named Davis - Mauro scored eight points in the victory while Scott Barry chipped in nine. All of Barry's points came on three-pointers.
It was another up-and-down effort from the Vikings, who lost their opener 57-50 to the South Kamloops Titans but came back to hammer the Sa-Hali Sabres 85-58 on Thursday. Valleyview, which won the tournament in 2012, looked good in the first and fourth quarters, and not-so-good in between.
If nothing else, the game served as a preview for what should be a tight AA West Zone this season. With the new provincial tiering, the Whundas, Vikings and Merritt Panthers make up the AA West Zone.
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The South Kamloops Titans Gold team needed overtime to knock off the Vikings 43-39 in the final of the junior boys Fulton Cup.
Valleyview scored the first two points of overtime, before South Kam scored the last six. Brendan Coulter had 17 points for South Kam; Ryan Miller scored eight to lead Valleyview.