LANGLEY — Thanks for re-joining us for our on-going coverage of the B.C. senior boys basketball championships from the Langley Events Centre.
Today, it’s quarterfinal Thursday at all four tiers.
Please continue to come back to us on this posting throughout the day as our team of writers and photographers give you the most complete coverage you will find anywhere.
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Here’s our game-by-game reports:
Story by DAN KINVIG (Special for Varsity Letters)
DUCHESS PARK 81, BYRNE CREEK 58
LANGLEY — Cole Laing and the Duchess Park Condors expertly manipulated the pace of play on Thursday afternoon as they sprinted past the Byrne Creek Bulldogs in the 3A quarter-finals.
On defence, the Condors did all they could to put the brakes on the Bulldogs, a high-octane group that thrives when playing at a breakneck pace. When Duchess Park came up with stops, it was about stomping the gas pedal and accelerating the other direction, usually with Laing’s hands on the wheel.
In the end, it added up to an impressive 81-58 triumph to punch their semifinal ticket.
“They’re a much faster, more athletic team than us, and we knew that,” Condors head coach Jordan Yu said afterward. “We really just wanted to slow them down and not get into the up-and-down with them as much as we could, at least on the defensive end. Our press really slowed them down – we got them working eight, 10 seconds off the clock before they got into their offence, and that was a big key for us.
“On offence, we wanted to get as many easy layups as we could – that’s how you win in high school basketball. We wanted to push the tempo, steal as many easy ones as we could, and then just execute.”
The Condors set the tone early, as their relentless pressure set the table for run-outs in transition. When they weren’t getting to the rim in the first quarter, senior forward Aidan Lewis was lighting it up from the outside – he drained a trio of treys as Duchess Park led 20-9 after 10 minutes.
Laing dominated the second quarter, exploding for 14 points in the frame highlighted by a pair of three-pointers, and the Condors’ cushion was 44-24 at the half.
Duchess Park essentially put the game on ice with a lightning-quick 10-0 run midway through the third quarter, with senior standouts Laing and Evgeny Baukin on the bench. Back-to-back threes from Jacob Hoskins and Gabriel Malfair got it started, Hoskins and Adam Sieben followed with steals off the press that led to layups, and it was suddenly 65-31.
The fourth quarter was largely academic, but the Condors got their fans on their feet with an alley-oop – Laing providing the pass, Baukin the two-handed finish.
Laing scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, and added four rebounds and four steals.
“He’s a baller, he’s a gamer,” Yu said with a smile. “We trust him with the ball in his hands and with making good decisions. He sometimes will call off a play that I call, but he usually executes pretty well. I thought he shot very well in the first half and that was a big reason we broke open the game.”
Lewis finished 5-for-10 from downtown on his way to 17 points, Baukin had 14 points and eight boards, and Malfair finished with 10 points.
Marcell Sherwood was a menace in the paint for the Bulldogs – he racked up 21 points and 14 boards. McArthur Hilton also posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Richard Moses and Mamadee Jawara chipped in with seven points apiece.
Duchess Park advances to face the Elgin Park-St. Thomas More winner in Friday’s semifinals (3:30 p.m. tip-off).
Story by WILSON WONG (Special for Varsity Letters)
ELGIN PARK 88 ST. THOMAS MORE 67
LANGLEY, B.C. – The Elgin Park Orcas started their quarter-final on fire, but needed to fend off multiple comeback attempts by the St. Thomas More Knights to win 88-67 Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.
With the triumph, Elgin Park will move on to the semifinal round, and keep its dream of a first senior boys’ provincial title alive.
The Orcas outscored STM 19-3 in the opening quarter, holding the Burnaby school to one field goal and one made foul shot. Elgin Park led by as many as 22 points in the early parts of the second period.
The team was able to answer back when STM closed its deficit to just two possessions in the third, and nine points with about three and a half minutes on the clock in the final period.
“We told our guys before the game this how STM plays,” said Elgin Park head coach Kirk Homenick. They’re really well-coached, and they’re very resilient. We knew they were going to come back and we told the players even in the huddle when we were up big in the first quarter, ‘They’re coming. They’re coming guys, be ready for it.’ The thing with our guys is that they’ve learned that same resilience over the last few years and they really powered through that. I’m very proud of how they reacted to it.”
Adam Olsen led the winners with 26 points, while teammate Cyrus Harrison posted 19.
Tarrence Booker and Timmy Gonzales recorded 22 and 19 points, respectively, to pace the Knights.
After a stunning Elgin Park performance in the first quarter, St. Thomas More changed the tone of the contest, winning a 30-26 second period to trail 45-33 at the half. Both teams were efficient offensively in the second period. Elgin Park shot 55.6 per cent (10 of 18), while STM was successful on 54.5 per cent of its opportunities (12 of 22).
The Knights closed the gap to just five, 45-40 and 48-43, coming out of halftime but the Orcas replied with 12-consecutive points. The stretch was capped off by a Lucas Roling offensive rebound and put-back bucket. It made the score 60-43 in favour of EPS with less than two minutes left in the third.
Booker’s layup with about 3:30 remaining in regulation brought STM to within single digits, 74-65, of Elgin Park.
The response from the Orcas? A game-finishing 14-2 run, clinching a spot in Friday’s first Triple-A semifinal at 3:30 p.m. in the LEC Arena Bowl against Prince George’s Duchess Park.
“We had our moments today on defence, that’s for sure,” said Homenick. “We gave up 30 in the second quarter but in the second half, I think we did a great job of reigning it in. Outside of a couple of fast-break layups, STM didn’t have many easy ones so hats off to our guys for that competitiveness.”
Story by WILSON WONG (Special for Varsity Letters)
ST. PATRICK’S 74 PRINCESS MARGARET 49
The Triple-A quarter-final between the St. Patrick Celtics of Vancouver and Surrey’s Princess Margaret Lions came to an unfortunate end as it was called with 1:26 left in the third quarter because of an injury.
“We were playing phenomenally,” said St. Patrick head coach Nap Santos. “We had a game plan and our players were pretty much going through the whole thing perfectly. They understood what the game plan was, and they knew exactly what the other team was going to do, and that is why the score was what it was. Especially Kaden (Carrion), I told him it was his time, and he performed so well until that unfortunate incident.”
The Celtics were ahead 74-49 when one of their star players, Kaden Carrion, suffered a broken leg. It necessitated a delay where both teams returned to the dressing rooms.
After the break, the squads, referees and tournament officials gathered at centre court. It was decided the game would not continue, sending St. Patrick to a semifinal contest against the winner of A.R. MacNeill and MEI.
“The Princess Margaret coach and kids came up to the St. Patrick kids and said ‘Listen, it’s your game. You got it. You deserve it. You guys played hard and we don’t want you going through this tonight. You are warriors,’” described Triple-A tournament director Mike Hind.
Added Hind when asked how he felt about the human exchange between the two teams: “Sportsmanship at its best. It gives me hope for the future. These are great caring kids and they have great caring coaches.”
Irish Coquia of the Celtics scored 33 points in less than three quarters of play. Jornel Ursua had 19, while Carrion recorded 14 and five steals.
Princess Margaret also had a trio of double-digit scorers: Jal Gatluk with 19 points, Beal Kueth with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Ega Sembele who posted 10 points.
The Celtics started the quarter-final battle with a 16-5 run en route to a 31-17 advantage at the first-quarter break. The team built on its lead and was ahead by as many as 25 points in the second.
After a late 8-0 surge by the Lions, the halftime score was 51-32.
St. Patrick never allowed Princess Margaret to put together any big runs, and had a response seemingly for every bucket by the Lions.
When Princess Margaret closed the gap to 64-47 in the third quarter, Coquia made a three and Carrion followed up with a lay-in. A Coquia layup and an ensuing free throw restored the 25-point St. Patrick lead, 74-49, with 1:56 left in the third.
A half minute later, the contest was halted.
Unfortunately, it is not the first time Santos has had to navigate his team through a serious injury at the provincial tournament.
“The crazy part about it is, this is not my first broken leg in the provincials,” remarked Santos. “It happened a few years ago when we were in Single-A. We were in the semifinal. During the warmup, a 6-4 kid that I had, one of the tallest players we had on the team, broke his leg when he dunked the ball. The kids were just like today. They were pretty upset about it. We played through it, and actually won the game.
“I told the kids today about that incident to get some inspiration. They came out, obviously, not really ready. I really appreciate Princess Margaret letting us win that game based on what the score was. Our guys wanted to play, it would have taken a little bit of time for them to get into it. They really wanted to play and finish it off. And they wanted to do it for KC especially.”
Santos and his team will now have to regroup and prepare for Friday’s semifinal game against A.R. MacNeill at 5:15 p.m. in the LEC Arena Bowl.
A.R. MACNEILL 93 MEI 68
The Triple-A quarter-final battle of the birds went to the A.R. MacNeill Ravens of Richmond, who topped Abbotsford’s MEI Eagles 93-68 Thursday night at the Langley Events Centre.
With the result, MacNeill claimed the final semifinal spot in the tournament, and it will face St. Patrick Friday at 5:15 p.m. for a place in Saturday’s title game. It is MacNeill’s second semifinal appearance in tournaments, having last made it this far in 2019.
The Ravens’ high-pressure offensive attack included 10 three-point baskets on 26 attempts (38.5 per cent). Overall, MacNeill posted a field-goal percentage of 47 per cent (39 of 83). MEI shot 35.5 per cent (27 of 76).
“I liked the way we played with pace,” said MacNeill head coach Justin Dy-Pe. “I think we did very well on the defensive end, and we knocked down some shots. Really, it’s a collaborative effort. From 1 to 14, our guys were ready right off the bat and they’ve been working at it all year, so we’re just happy to make it into the final four.
“We know it is going to be tough. In the final four, these guys are the best of the best and hopefully, we’ll be ready to play.”
Josh Mayan led the winning effort with 25 points. Everett Swaim had a 17-point, 18-rebound double double. Cam Pacheco scored 15 points for MacNeill.
A handful of Eagles recorded at least 10 points, with Raffy Guirguis the leading scorer with 13. Sam Brandsma, Billy Kraemer, and Gabe Vig all had 11 with Brandsma also grabbing a team-best 13 rebounds. Jared Huebert scored 10 points.
MEI opened the scoring in the second quarter with a bucket to trail MacNeill 24-22. Then the Ravens reeled off a 14-3 run to go ahead 38-24. A 10-1 surge to end the half gave the Richmond school a 50-33 advantage at the mid-game break.
MacNeill led 61-45 in the third and added to its lead with 11-consecutive points, capped off by a Sean Duques lay-in to make it 72-45. MEI had the final four points of the third quarter. The Ravens won the fourth 21-19.
MacNeill and St. Patrick have played once this season. In a non-league contest on January 27, the Celtics earned a 98-91 home win.
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