By MARK HUNTER
Daily News Sports Reporter
Sometimes, it takes a while for head coach Kyle Beday's message to get through to the players on his NorKam Saints senior boys basketball team.
The players figured it out in time Thursday, dominating the last 15 minutes of their Fulton Cup round-robin game against the Valleyview Vikings and winning 69-56.
NorKam will take on the St. Ann's Crusaders in the final today, 7:15 p.m., at the Tournament Capital Centre. The Saints senior girls will take on the Sa-Hali Sabres in their final, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., at the TCC.
The Vikings did a nice job of controlling the Saints in the first 25 minutes, leading by as many as 12 points and trailing for only 13 seconds in the first two-and-a-half quarters.
Then, the Saints players clued into what Beday had been telling them.
"They finally realized that we're so much bigger than them down low and we started pounding the ball inside," Beday said. "It took a few timeouts for them to realize it . . . and we also picked up the defensive play."
The Saints tied the game 40-40 with 5:11 remaining in the third quarter, took a lead 30 seconds later and never led by fewer than two points the rest of the way.
NorKam really put the game away with a 13-4 run over six minutes in a tight fourth quarter.
Mike Basran had 20 points to lead the Saints, who had beaten the Barriere Cougars 75-39 on Wednesday. Evan Helgason had 13 points for NorKam, and Jeremy Bosher added 10.
Ryan Cave and Austin LaBonte had strong rebounding games, and their coach was quick to applaud their work.
"Ryan Cave, he's not the biggest guy, but somehow he gets tons of offensive rebounds," Beday said. "Austin . . . he's super lanky and can tip out and get a lot of boards."
Clayton Farber had 21 points and Tim Bienjes scored 15 points for Valleyview, which opened with a 65-39 victory over Barriere.
The Vikings will take on the Sabres in the third-place game today, 3:45 p.m., at the TCC. Sa-Hali beat the Westsyde Whundas 72-64 in another boys game Thursday.
The Saints-Crusaders matchup should be an interesting one. St. Ann's is a team based on speed; NorKam, while fast, also has some size.
The Saints are a AAA program, while the Crusaders play A ball. Either way, one of them will be crowned the city's preseason champion tonight.
"I played with a few of the (St. Ann's players) during the summer, and they're killers," Beday said. "It's going to be a hard game - we'll have to bring 10 times more effort than we did against Valleyview."
l The Saints girls, meanwhile, beat the Vikings, 57-36. Kaho Tsukaguchi led NorKam with 16 points, and Rebecca Frasca added 14.
Taryn Christian led Valleyview with 10 points.
Sa-Hali's girls ran to a 69-30 victory over the Ashcroft Rams. Kiana Rainville led Sa-Hali with 20 points. Cheyenne Sabyan scored 14 for Ashcroft.
l The Sabres will take on the South Kamloops Titans in the junior girls final.
Sa-Hali won both of its Wednesday games, while the Titans needed a 72-15 victory over the Vikings on Thursday to secure their place in the final.
In Thursday's other junior girls game, the Westsyde Whundas beat NorKam, 40-37.
The final is scheduled for 7 p.m., at the TCC
l Sa-Hali and Valleyview are to meet in today's junior boys final, 5:30 p.m., at the TCC.
The Sabres had two victories on Wednesday. Valleyview beat South Kam 59-26 on Thursday.
NorKam beat the Whundas 57-25 on Thursday, and will take on the Crusaders in the bronze-medal game at 2:15 p.m.