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South comeback takes bark out of Bulldogs

The No. 1-ranked Burnaby South Rebels scored 33 points in the final quarter to upset former No. 1 Sir Winston Churchill in opening game of the Rod Thomson senior boys' basketball tournament

A “We hate-to-lose” attitude helped Burnaby South pull out a opening night comeback win at the annual Rod Thomson memorial basketball tournament.

Tyus Batiste, who struggled all game with  his shooting rhythm, scored 19 of his 26 points in the final quarter to help pace the Burnaby South Rebels to an 83-78 victory over Sir Winston Churchill on Wednesday.

After a game of nip-and-tuck in the opening half, the No. 6-ranked Bulldogs outscored the host Rebels 22-10 in the third quarter to enter the final stanza with an eight-point lead on the current provincial No. 1 South team.

But it was then that Batiste found his groove, nailing eight straight points to tie the score, including back-to-back threes, and swing the momentum in South’s favour.

“We were down and we don’t like losing,” said Batiste, who also garnered nine rebounds and six steals in the entertaining contest. “We put it into the next gear and got her going.”

Player of the game Jermaine Haley, a concensus four-star prospect, was in a different gear all game long for the Rebels.

The 6-7 South point guard led all scorers with an awe-inspiring double-double, potting 34 points, including 19 in the opening half, while hauling down 15 rebounds and adding two steals and two assists

Post Nic Trninic also registered a workmanlike double for the Rebels with 12 points and 11 boards.

The Rod Thomson tournament wraps on Friday with South taking on Panorama Ridge at 3:30 p.m. and Churchill facing Yale in the later game.

“It’s a great feeling being No. 1.  … It’s a confidence booster, but it means we have to work hard to keep it,” said Batiste. “I hope we can keep it.”