The Golden Eagles senior boys’ basketball team had their season come to an early end after a tight 83-79 loss to Creston in the finals of the East Kootenay Zone Championships.
The Eagles started slowly before eventually recovering, leading to the nail-biting finish. Golden actually found themselves behind by 18 points at the half before rallying and taking a five point lead of their own in the fourth quarter against a Creston team that was playing in front of its home fans.
“It was just a seesaw battle from there, back and forth. They battled really hard. Kudos to Creston, they played really well. They came out strong in their home gym with lots of crowd support. They were prepared for us and they worked hard,” said Eagles head coach Kindy Gosal.
The slow start proved to be costly. Like any good coach, Gosal placed the blame squarely on his own shoulders rather than on that of his players.
“It’s probably on me as a coach in the preparation that we had going in there. I think that maybe I didn’t do as good a job preparing these guys for that type of start in that type of environment,” he said.
The Eagles received the bulk of their scoring from their three returning players from last season.
Meva Dhami and Kiran Gosal tied for the team-lead with 23 points apiece, while John Oszust, who continued to improve after a strong rookie campaign in 2015, contributed 17 points of his own.
The loss ends the Eagles’ hopes of a third straight appearance at the provincials.
“Our group hasn’t lost in the Kootenay Zone finals for many, many years so we’re not really used to losing. It was bound to happen eventually. The odds are stacked against you once you’ve won so much, inevitably there’s going to be an upset,” Kindy said.
“It’s tough. Our guys didn’t want to walk off the court with a loss in the Kootenays. That’s not what we envisioned but that’s one of the tough learning parts of sports.”
The end of the season brings a close to the high school careers of standouts Dhami and Kiran Gosal, who will both be graduating from GSS this spring. Dhami is hoping to play basketball at the post-secondary level, while Kiran plans to focus primarily on academics.
As for Kindy, with the graduation of his youngest son Kiran, the man who has led the Eagles in each of the last three years and as the school’s junior basketball coach before that plans to take a well-deserved break from coaching. Given that high school team sports are always a numbers game for the community, he isn’t sure what the future holds for the program going forward.
Gosal wished to thank his assistant coach, Paul Deutsch, the staff at Golden Secondary and the parents of all of the players for their support throughout the season.