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Sun Devils sweep Pacers in hoop rivalry games

Cup games played for first time in two years after COVID-19 pause

For about five minutes it looked like the Delta Pacers just might continue their recent dominance of their senior boys basketball cross-town rivalry. Then the South Delta Sun Devils came to life.

The hosts erased an early 9-0 deficit with a 21-4 run of their own en route to a 78-54 victory in the Stebbings Murray Cup rivalry game played last Thursday.

The annual tilt, named after the Delta Sports Hall of Fame inductees and longtime hoop coaches Bob Stebbings and Neil Murray, resumed after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, but was played in front of no spectators due to the current COVID-19 public health orders.

“The guys weren’t doing their defensive rotations and came out a little flat,” said SDSS head coach Bryan Lopez, on his team’s slow start. “We made some adjustments on defence and the guys were able to pick up on that, which was great to see.”

South Delta took a 25-20 lead into halftime and pulled away in the final 10 minutes thanks to a 13-2 run to start the fourth quarter.

Ty Willemsen led the winners with 25 points. Eliot Loveless added 22. Kai Bohmert had a game-high 27 for the Pacers.

Both teams now turn their attention back to league play with South Delta looking to improve on its 1-2 record in the South Fraser 4A Southwest Division with games coming up against Sullivan Heights, Panorama Ridge and Semiahmoo. The Pacers sit at 1-3 in the AAA Sur-Del League.

In the senior girls match-up for the Brasnett/Lawrence Cup, the Sun Devils cruised to their first win over the Delta Pacers in five years.

The outcome was hardly a surprise as the Sun Devils are enjoying their best season in a number of years and sit among the top 10 teams in the province at the AAAA level.

The Pacers are coming off a historic 2020 season that culminated at the B.C. AAA Championships. However, volunteer parent coach Chris Ainge has no returning players from that team, due to the pandemic pause, as the program looks to rebuild towards another run.

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