Banished to the Tournament Capital Centre lobby, Valleyview Vikings head coach Brynden Swint had a great view of the last few minutes of the Fulton Cup senior boys final.
As a coach - and a spectator - he was impressed.
The Vikings defeated the Sa-Hali Sabres 84-74 in Friday's championship game at the Fulton Cup, the city's preseason basketball championship. The Vikings' senior team comprises mostly the same players who won the junior title in 2012.
The final was an emotional affair, and Swint found himself caught right up in it. He took a technical foul late in the third quarter, and another - earning him an ejection - with 2:44 remaining in the game.
So, he had to watch the end of the game from the staircase above the TCC fieldhouse.
"Those are two of the hardest-working teams you're going to find," Swint said. "They battled, and it came down to who was battling harder today - it could swing either way next time."
After Swint was ejected, the Vikings led 74-69. From there, Valleyview let the Sabres get to within two, at 76-74, but came back to score the game's last eight points.
As things were starting to unravel for the Vikings, MVP Layton Demidoff, a Grade 11 guard, took his teammates aside and had a little chat.
Not long after, Kyle Klynsoon delivered the big blow, hitting a three-pointer with 90 seconds remaining to stretch the lead to five points.
"I told the guys, 'Not a lot of time left, we want this, we have to finish this,' " Demidoff said. "We played our hearts out."
Interestingly, a technical foul actually helped turn the tide in the Vikings' favour in the second quarter.
With the score 32-30 in favour of Valleyview, Sa-Hali's Noah Marchand, who was fantastic in the final, was assessed a technical foul.
While Marchand, the Sabres' best player, was cooling his heels on the bench, the Vikings scored 14 straight points and led 46-32 at the half.
Klynsoon had 18 points to lead the Vikings, and Demidoff scored 17. The Marchand brothers were excellent for the Sabres, with Noah scoring 20 points and Grade 10 guard Keegan scoring 11. Jason Pinneo also scored 10 points for Sa-Hali.
The Sabres, who struggled from the free-throw line, were inconsistent defensively, but, when they tightened up, made things really difficult for Valleyview.
"People fouled out, people were battling injuries," Demidoff said. "We battled at the end there."
The South Kamloops Titans won the junior boys title, defeating the Sa-Hali Sabres 44-39 in Friday's final.
Tournament all-star Max Harris had 15 points for South Kam, while Kaylan Phillips dropped 11 points for Sa-Hali.
South Kam's Jon Donas also was an all-star, as was Sa-Hali's Kyle Metz.
The Titans showed some sportsmanship as well - they donated their Red Devils Camp bursary to Ashcroft. South Kam beat Ashcroft 95-4 in the tournament opener.
For complete results, all-stars and bursaries, please see Scoreboard.
© Kamloops Daily News