Dover Bay's Oyama Crouch is guarded by STM's Zeru Abera during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

03.07.24 Day 2 reports from the 2024 B.C. senior boys Triple-A Elite 8 quarterfinal basketball championships!

Howard Tsumura here, founder and writer of Varsity Letters.

Welcome to the quarterfinal round of the 2024 B.C. Tripe-A boys basketball championships.

We’ve got complete coverage tonight of all four championship games in each of the four tiers of competition.

Keep checking back here throughout the evening for updates at this tier, but remember you can go to and scan our daily front page for complete reports from the other three as well.

Our four-person team tonight consists of myself at Quad-A, Dan King at Triple-A, Aaron Martin at Double-A and Nicolas Hauka at Single-A.



All Stories by DAN KINVIG (Special for Varsity Letters)


No. 2 DOVER BAY 89 vs No. 7 ST. THOMAS MORE 65

LANGLEY — To their credit, the St. Thomas More Knights – and their fans – did absolutely everything they could to disrupt the Dover Bay Dolphins’ flow in the provincial 3A quarter-finals on Thursday afternoon.

The Knights’ student section came armed with all manner of noisemakers, including, most notably, several armloads’ worth of vuvuzelas – blaring plastic horns that sports fans might remember as being deployed most famously (and notoriously) at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. 

From opening tip to final whistle, whenever the Dolphins had the ball, they were subjected to an auditory environment more reminiscent of rush hour in downtown Los Angeles than a basketball game. 

It was enough to drive a rational human being to distraction, and indeed, it had this scribe shoulder-checking to ensure he hadn’t cut someone off, only to remember he was seated behind a laptop and not a steering wheel.

But if it bothered the Dolphins, they surely did not show it.

By the time the final vuvuzela had been blown, it was the Dolphins punching their Final Four ticket in emphatic fashion by a 89-65 count.

The Nanaimo squad advances to face the Lord Byng-Mark Isfeld winner in Friday’s semis at 3:30 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

“Our coaches do a great job of getting us locked in before the game,” Dolphins senior guard Tasman Sandhu said afterward. “They tell us, ‘Just focus on doing what you came here to do and block out all the noise. They’re here to watch you, so we have to go out and perform and give them a show.’”

Dover Bay did put on a show, and Sandhu was the ringmaster. He erupted for 16 first-quarter points, including four three-pointers, as the Dolphins opened an early 22-5 lead to firmly seize control of the proceedings. 

“Just felt like waking up and proving to everyone that guys from the Island can really play,” said Sandhu, who would finish with a game-high 29 points. “Just because we’re not from Vancouver . . . we mean business and we want to prove it.

“We feel a lot of disrespect. We want to prove that guys from the Island aren’t soft. . . . (We hear it) from our own fans sometimes. I hear it at school – ‘Oh, those Vancouver guys, they’re coming for heads.’ But we’re here to show them how we practice and how we play.”

STM’s brightest moments were provided by Grade 11 guard Zeru Abera, who, in addition to scoring a team-best 25 points, flashed a highlight reel-worthy ability to find cutting teammates with no-look passes for layups.

But these Dolphins are huge, they’re deep, and they’re seasoned, with a trip to the 2023 3A title game under their belts. And their defence is as disruptive as ever – Dover Bay, as it did last season, attacks teams with a 2-2-1 press falling back into a 2-3 zone, taking full advantage of the squad’s collective length. 

Dover Bay’s Frank Linder has a wingspan which allows him to tower above the STM Knights during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

The Knights were able to get back to within 11 points in the second quarter, but the Dolphins pulled away once again. When Grade 9 point guard Joe Linder banked in a straightaway three late in the second quarter, pushing his team’s advantage to 46-23, you realized it was Dover Bay’s day. Their lead was 20-plus the rest of the way.

Ten Dolphins hit the scoresheet, with Hudson Trood (14), Oyama Crouch (13) and Joe Linder (13) joining Sandhu in double digits.

Burnaby-based STM, with an almost exclusively Grade 11 roster, figure to be among the title contenders next year. Jacob Oreta, with 17 points, and Shane Deza, with nine, also chipped in offensively for the Knights.

Lord Byng’s Marco Radic lets fly during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Dan Kinvig 2024. All Rights Reserved)

No. 3 LORD BYNG 78 vs No. 11 MARK ISFELD 53

By Dan Kinvig (Special for Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — The Lord Byng Grey Ghosts’ performance on Thursday evening wasn’t, according to head coach Kevin Sandher, the type of masterpiece you’d want to frame and hang in a prominent place in your home.

But on this day, it was enough. 

The No. 3 seed from Vancouver squad, at least in the early going of Thursday’s 3A quarter-final, appeared in danger of becoming the No. 11 Mark R. Isfeld Ice’s second straight upset victim.

But with senior forward Dylan King providing a steadying presence and methodically thawing the Ice’s defence, the Grey Ghosts pulled away in the second half for a 78-53 victory.

“Definitely wasn’t an oil painting tonight,” Sandher said with a smile afterward, “but at this time of the year? We’ll take it. 

“We saw (Isfeld) on film, we saw them in person yesterday, and they play hard. Our guys, a few fouls went the wrong way, and maybe they didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was.”

The final score, indeed, really doesn’t indicate how much the Ice made the favoured Grey Ghosts sweat.

The Courtenay-based squad, comprised almost entirely of Grade 11’s, were the better team in the first quarter, building a 15-11 lead at the end of the frame behind 10 points from centre Daxin Moldenhauer. 

Lord Byng, though, opened the second quarter on an 8-0 surge, and were able to secure a 32-24 lead at halftime. King was instrumental during that stretch – they Grey Ghosts got unstuck offensively by feeding the 6’5” forward in the high post against the Ice’s 2-3 zone. When he wasn’t wriggling his way to the rim, King’s kick-out passes got the ball moving and helped get the Ghosts’ perimeter standouts into the flow. 

King dominated the third quarter, scoring 12 points in the frame including a couple of tough and-one buckets deep in the paint. In the fourth, his gravity opened windows beyond the arc for teammates Marco Radic and Jonas Groves, who each knocked down a pair of triples as Byng stretched the lead beyond 20.

Bryson Gailloux-Milina of Mark Isfeld dodges Grey Ghosts on the dribble during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Dan Kinvig 2024. All Rights Reserved)

“Dylan was our first team all-star here last year,” Sandher noted. “He’s our main scorer – he averages probably 15 (points) per game, but in the bigger games, it goes up. He’s versatile, and I think that’s what coaches are looking for these days. He can switch on defence, he can get to the rim, and he didn’t shoot a three today, but he can shoot the three-ball. We just tell him to keep putting pressure on the defence – that’s his main role.

“Later in the game, he drove one and kicked it out for a three, and that was great. Last year he might force things at times, but that play – reading the D and kicking it out, making a good decision – was, as a coach, really good to see.”

King’s 23 points were a game-high for Lord Byng, and Radic (17 points), Groves (13) and Eli Mullin (10) also chipped in offensively.

Moldenhauer was outstanding for the Ice, pouring in 22 points, and Parker Guile added 10 points of his own.

Up next for the Grey Ghosts is a semifinal clash at 3:30 p.m. Friday on the LEC’s Arena Bowl vs. the No. 2 Dover Bay Dolphins. The two teams split a pair of match-ups earlier this year. 

“We know we’re going to have to be much better tomorrow when we match up against Dover,” Sandher acknowledged. “They got us the first time this year, and the second time we got them. They’re a great team, and they shoot the ball really well. They’re so long, so well-coached. 

“But as I told my guys, we’re trying to win a provincial – it should be difficult, and it’s going to be, right? We’re going to have to play our best game.”

MEI’s Ben Brandsma (left) drives around North Delta’s Arjun Atwal during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)


No. 5 MEI 67 vs No. 4 NORTH DELTA 66 (OT)

By Dan Kinvig (Special for Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — To properly explain the magnitude of what Spencer Tatlock and the Mennonite Educational Institute Eagles accomplished on Thursday evening, we’re going to boldly evoke one of the most legendary moments in NBA history.

Does the name Willis Reed ring a bell? 

Hoop diehards know all about Reed, one of the greatest players of his generation who, nearly 54 years ago, cemented his legacy in incredibly gutsy fashion. Despite a muscle tear in his right thigh that had sidelined him for the previous game and should have ended his season, Reed came limping out of the tunnel and started Game 7 of the NBA Finals, electrifying the crowd at Madison Square Garden and inspiring his New York Knicks to a championship-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was hard to watch Tatlock’s heroics on Thursday and not think immediately of Reed.

In MEI’s 3A provincial tournament-opening win over Windsor on Wednesday, Tatlock had risen to block a shot, and to say he landed wrong is putting it mildly. Freeze-frame the video, and you see the sole of his left shoe perpendicular to the hardwood, his foot at a 90-degree angle relative to the rest of his leg.

Cringe-inducing stuff.

On Thursday in the quarter-finals vs. the North Delta Huskies, Tatlock didn’t come limping out of the tunnel – Eagles head coach Mike Lee kept him on the bench for the entire first half, and understandably so, given the state of his ankle.

But with the Eagles’ title dreams hanging in the balance, the 6’9” Grade 11 centre entered the game at halftime and inspired his squad to a 67-66 overtime triumph. 

It was an instant March Madness classic, and Tatlock’s fingerprints were all over it. MEI appeared to be absolutely cooked on multiple occasions, but Tatlock’s buzzer-beater sent the game to OT, and in the extra session, he scored the winning bucket in the dying seconds.

“He begged me in the first half, about six different times – ‘Please, let me go in, let me go in,’” Lee said of Tatlock, the Eagles’ top scorer and rebounder. 

“It’s hard not to get emotional – I’ve been coaching Spencer since he was nine years old. Watched him go through a ton of growing pains, and to just see him excel on the biggest stage at the brightest time, I get emotional about it, just thinking back to when he was a little guy. Same with a lot of these kids.”

MEI brought its famed Screaming Eagles marching band along on Thursday, adding an epic feel to the proceedings, but you could have hardly blamed fans of the Abbotsford school for saying a few extra prayers upon seeing Tatlock on the bench to start the game.

The plan, Lee explained, was to keep his star on the sideline unless the Huskies started to pull away – a sort of break-glass-in-case-of situation. 

The Eagles started brightly, scoring the first five points on the game, but North Delta, slowly but surely, gained traction and wrested away control. Power forward Joseph Maku terrorized the Eagles in the paint to the tune of 12 first-half points; Harjan Virk drained a trio of treys; and Harvir Hothi, the Huskies’ impossibly smooth point guard, added nine points of his own as the Huskies took a 34-27 lead into halftime.

Splitting the MEI defence of Nathan Lapsa is North Delta’s Amapreet Lalli during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

Tatlock came limping onto the court to start the third quarter, and while the Huskies would quickly extend their lead to eight points, Tatlock’s steadying influence soon became clear. Despite being in obvious discomfort, he supplied sorely-needed rim protection as MEI switched to a zone defence, and provided an offensive hub against the Huskies’ 3-2 zone which had given the Eagles fits in the first half.

MEI slowly kept chipping away at the deficit, and two unlikely heroes emerged off the bench. Mercer Thiessen, a Grade 10 forward called up from the Eagles’ junior team for this tournament, scored 10 clutch points in the fourth quarter on his way to an 18-point evening.

And Shaun Madahar, a wispy Grade 11 guard, came in off the bench cold in the fourth, having not played a minute over the previous three quarters. Turns out, he’s a pure sniper – he drained a long triple the first time he touched the ball, and followed up with a long two-point jumper to give MEI its first lead, at 49-48, since the first quarter.

“He’s our own Vinnie ‘The Microwave’ Johnson,” Lee said of Madahar, evoking another old-school NBA legend who was revered for his ability to come off the bench and create instant offence. “Press a button, and he’s hot, immediately. 

“I sat down beside him (in the fourth quarter) and said, ‘Hey, if I put you out there, is this stage too big?’ And he said, ‘I’m ready, coach.’ As soon as he said that, I knew it. Usually there’s a hesitation there, but when you get that look in the eye…”

The two teams traded buckets down the stretch, and it was clear the game could break in either direction. 

In the dying seconds and the score tied 57-57, Tatlock came up with a steal and got the ball to senior guard Nathan Laspa, who turned up the floor with about seven seconds left in regulation. 

North Delta’s Amarpreet Lalli, though, made an incredible defensive play, forcing a turnover and firing a quick pass to Hothi headed the opposite direction. Hothi’s layup gave the Huskies a 59-57 lead with just 0.5 seconds left.

MEI advanced the ball to halfcourt after the timeout, and Isaiah Lee lofted an alley-oop to a back-cutting Tatlock, who coaxed the ball over the rim under duress to send the crowd into hysterics and force OT.

Afterward, Tatlock explained that the Eagles had rehearsed a similar play at their final practice before provincials, but in that iteration, he’d picked-and-popped beyond the arc for a three-point try. This time, in the huddle, they had him set his screen and then dive to the hoop.

“Isaiah threw it up magically, and I saw it and was like, ‘Alright, go get it,’” he related. “It just felt natural.”

In the extra session, North Delta’s Arjan Atwal drained a tough runner with 35 seconds left to give his team a 66-62 edge, and once again it looked like it was curtains for MEI. 

But Madahar, still scorching hot, swished a trey to get the Eagles to within 66-65. Off the ensuing North Delta inbounds, MEI pressed and managed to jar the ball loose, and it found its way to Madahar at the free throw line. He spotted Tatlock to his left and dumped the ball off for a go-ahead layup to give the Eagles an improbable lead with 5.9 seconds left.

North Delta sought some buzzer-beating magic of their own, inbounding from halfcourt after a timeout, but the entry pass was off target. Laspa scooped up the loose ball, and MEI was able to run out the clock, setting off a court-storming scene.

Tatlock, who played all but about 30 seconds of the second half and OT – he briefly exited after taking a spill and aggravating his ankle – finished with eight points.

“The adrenaline took over, and that was the last thing I was worried about,” he said with a smile. “I took a fall there, but I was fine as soon as I walked it off.

“I love playing, so whenever I’m not on the floor, it hurts a little bit,” he added, reflecting on the frustration of watching the first half from the bench. “But I trust my guys completely and wholeheartedly to get the work done.

“We’re all stoked. This is the farthest any of us have made it at provincials, and this is a great moment for us as a team. We played so well as a team, and we’re excited for the next opportunity.”

MEI faces the St. Patrick-A.R. MacNeill winner in the semis on Friday at 5:15 p.m. in the LEC’s Arena Bowl.

Maku’s 20 points paced the Huskies, who also got 17 points from Atwal and 11 from Hothi.

In the aftermath, North Delta head coach Jas Hothi could only marvel at the high drama the game produced, while expressing nothing but pride in his squad. 

“What a battle,” he said, with a shake of his head. “This is what B.C. basketball is all about. What do you do?

“Both teams hit shots. Great game. We gave it everything we had, and unfortunately came out on the wrong side.”

Isaiah Lee scored 12 points for MEI, while Madahar finished with 10.

The thing about Willis Reed’s legendary moment was, he limped out of the tunnel for the last game of the Knicks’ season. 

Tatlock, meanwhile, needs to be ready to go again in 24 hours’ time, as a championship would require two more victories. 

“I’m in a little bit of pain now that the adrenaline’s wearing off,” Tatlock admitted, but the buzz of the victory was still fresh and his smile still wide. 

“I’ll go home and ice this thing.”

St. Pat’s Jakobi Metabalos (left) tries to elude the reach of A.R. MacNeill’s Saleh Algazal during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

No. 1 ST. PATRICK 68 vs No. 4 A.R. MacNEILL 58 

By Dan Kinvig (Special for Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — Just over a week ago, Riley Santa Juana experienced heartbreak on the hardwood at the Langley Events Centre, leading his St. Patrick Celtics Grade 10 boys team to the cusp of a B.C. junior championship, only to drop a 59-55 decision to the Terry Fox Ravens.

This week, back at the LEC with the St. Patrick senior boys squad, Santa Juana staged a breakout performance at the senior level, pouring in a game-high 28 points to spark his team to a hard-fought 68-58 quarter-final triumph over the A.R. MacNeill Ravens of Richmond. 

St. Patrick, by virtue of their status as the two-time reigning 3A provincial champs and as the No. 1 seed once again this week, were already considered favourites. But getting mature performances like that from their Grade 10 phenom? It does nothing but tilt the scales further in favour of a potential three-peat for the Vancouver squad.

Post-game, Celtics head coach Nap Santos was asked whether he was surprised at all that Santa Juana was ready to step up to this degree. Before the question was even fully expressed, he cut it off. 

“We’ve had him since Grade 1,” Santos said with a smile. “We knew he was ready for this. It’s his time.

“Playing for the juniors, losing in the finals last week . . . He was ready for this stage, and I knew it. I had to give him that chance. He played around 10 games with us this season, and he practices with us as well. He’s so familiar with the guys and our sets.”

Indeed, Santa Juana’s comfort level grew as the game wore on – he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter in a contest that was still in doubt until the final minutes.

The Ravens had led for most of the first quarter, but the Celtics got their fast-break game going in the second and were able to take a 32-23 edge into halftime.

They stretched the lead to 20 points (45-25) in the third and appeared to have things well in hand, but MacNeill staged a stirring rally, ending the frame on a 14-4 surge capped by Migel Galano-Tan’s buzzer-beating triple from near halfcourt that energized his squad and gave them reason to believe.

Santa Juana, though, took the Celtics home, accounting for more than half of St. Patrick’s 19 fourth-quarter points.

“It just feels good to step up on a team with a lot of big-time players like Jovin (Sunner) and Ryan Garcia,” Santa Juana said, name-dropping two of the Celtics’ senior standouts. “I’ve been playing with them ever since I was in elementary school.

“The senior team always has trust in me, so I just take whatever they give me,” he added. “I was just seeing open lanes. Even when I got stopped in the middle by help side, I was able to just kick it out to my teammate and trust them to hit the shot.”

Jerome Alojado contributed 14 points for the Celtics, while Jakobi Matalabos added nine points.

St. Patrick’s Markell King-Collins (left) tries to shake MacNeill’s Yosef Abdelhamid during Day 2 Elite 8 quarterfinal-round play at the 2024 B.C. senior boys basketball championships March 7, 2024 at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2024. All Rights Reserved)

Grade 11 guard Chad Gammad was valiant in defeat for the Ravens, racking up 27 points, and Samer Awad-Raouf (12 points), Wahkig Lay (nine points) and Joaquin Bautista (nine points) also chipped in offensively for the No. 8-seeded squad.

Santos noted that the two teams know each other extremely well, and despite the fact that St. Patrick had won both head-to-head match-ups earlier this season by 20-plus points, it was destined to be a close game.

“We pretty much knew their sets, they knew our sets, we knew who their players were and vice versa,” he said. “A lot of them play for my club team, so we know each other pretty well.

“We have a lot of respect for MacNeill – I’ve known Stew (Siy, Ravens head coach) for a long time. 

“So we knew it was going to be that kind of a game. It’s the provincials, so you know they’re going to bring everything – it’s expected. But it doesn’t matter whether you win by one or by 50 – just as long as you advance.”

St. Patrick takes on MEI in the semis on Friday at 5:15 p.m. in the LEC Arena Bowl.


FINAL FOUR (at Arena Bowl)

GAME TIMES — 3:30, 5:15 p.m.



If you’re reading this story or viewing these photos on any website other than one belonging to a university athletic department, it has been taken without appropriate permission. In these challenging times, true journalism will survive only through your dedicated support and loyalty. and all of its exclusive content has been created to serve B.C.’s high school and university sports community with hard work, integrity and respect. Feel free to drop us a line any time at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *