BY DAN KINVIG
(Special to Varsity Letters)
We’re up-to-date on the busiest post-season day in B.C. boys high school basketball. Here’s reports from all eight of today’s games.
GLENLYON NORFOLK 77 NORTHSIDE CHRISTIAN 68
Chris Graham of the Glenlyon Norfolk Gryphons served notice he’s going to be a major problem for opponents throughout this B.C. Single A championship, pouring in 35 points to lead his team to a 77-68 win over the Northside Christian Northstars on Wednesday evening.
On a day of blowouts in the Single A draw – the average margin of victory over the first seven games was 51.4 points – the last game of the day was the closest, and was the only one to feature a single-digit final margin.
Ultimately, Graham’s scoring prowess lifted the No. 8-seeded Victoria squad to victory. The 5’10” Grade 11 guard averaged over 30 points per game this season, and he turned in a typically efficient performance. He hit 10-of-17 attempts from the field while showing a propensity for drawing contact, going 13-of-15 from the charity stripe.
Kris Neilson (14 points) and Ethan Stanger (12) also scored in double figures for the winners, and Thomas Healey reeled in a game-high 12 rebounds.
The No. 9 Northstars, who hail from Vanderhoof, got 19 points from Grade 10 guard Regan Unger. Ethan Unger (15 points) and Kyle Bublitz (13 points) also chipped in offensively, and Bublitz and Mathias Froese registered 10 boards each.
Glenlyon Norfolk faces a stiff test on Thursday, as they meet the top-seeded Credo Christian Kodiaks in the quarter-finals at 8:15 p.m.
CREDO CHRISTIAN 99 GOLD RIVER 36
The top-seeded Credo Christian Kodiaks lived up to their advance billing, rolling to a 99-36 win over the Gold River Cougars in their Single A provincial tourney opener on Wednesday.
The hometown squad showcased a balanced attack – they didn’t have a 20-point scorer, but six players scored in double digits and the Kodiaks shot 53.9 per cent from the field as a team. Wil Dykstra’s 16 points were a team-high, and Josh Allison (15), Reuben Sikma (12), Elia Faragalla (12), Bryce Pol (10) and Stefan Klein (10) also had productive nights offensively. Pol and Nolan Dewitt tied for team-high honours with nine boards apiece.
Credo Christian was equally dominant at the other end of the floor – Gold River mustered no more than 10 points in any of the four quarters, and were limited to 27.1 per cent shooting.
Senior centre Logan Rose paced the Cougars with 12 points, and Tyler Gedlaman registered seven points and six rebounds.
The Kodiaks assured themselves a spot in the semifinals, where they’ll face the Glenlyon Norfolk-Northside Christian winner at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday.
KELOWNA CHRISTIAN 113 PEMBERTON 33
Jackson Anderson submitted one of the most impressive shooting displays in B.C. provincial tournament history – across all tiers – as his Kelowna Christian Knights rolled to a 113-33 win over the Pemberton Red Devils on Wednesday evening.
Anderson, a 5’8” senior guard, counted an incredible 11 three-pointers (on 19 attempts) among his game-high 40 points on behalf of the Knights, who led 62-14 at halftime.
Just how historic was Anderson’s outburst? It’s hard to say precisely.
One would think that his 11 three-pointers in a game would be a Single A tournament record, but the Single A, AA and AAA tourney programs don’t note single-game records. The AAAA mark for threes in a game is 11, accomplished twice (Chris Pershick, North Delta, 1992; Nathan Vogstad, Queen Charlotte, 2014).
In any event, it was a shooting display for the ages.
Colin Christophe chipped in with 12 points for No. 3 Kelowna Christian, and Jackson Borne, Jackson Cockwill and Brett Matthews scored 11 apiece. (Let the record show that there seems to be an unusually large number of boys named Jackson at Kelowna Christian).
Ernie Ronayne and Isaiah Morin, with six points each, were the top scorers for No. 14 seed Pemberton.
Kelowna Christian moves on to the quarter-finals, where they’ll play Bulkley Valley Christian at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
BULKLEY VALLEY 99 ST. ANDREW’S 34
An incredible second-quarter performance sent the Bulkley Valley Christian Royals to a 99-34 victory over the St. Andrew’s Sabres in their Single A provincial tournament opener on Wednesday.
The No. 6-seeded Royals outscored the No. 11 Sabres 37-0 in the frame – as close as you’re likely to get to basketball perfection. The second-quarter dominance eliminated any further suspense from the proceedings as Bulkley Valley took a 59-13 lead into halftime.
Saymon Loki was the catalyst for the Royals. The senior forward played even bigger than his listed 6’5” height, dominating the paint at both ends of the court and posting an enviable stat line: 31 points and 17 rebounds.
Nathan Steenhof (23 points) also excelled offensively for Bulkley Valley Christian, Josh Boone had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan Bandstra hauled down 13 boards.
Eric Luchies (eight points) and Gabriel Reda (seven points) were the top scorers for the Victoria-based Sabres.
The Royals advance to face the Pemberton-Kelowna Christian winner in the quarter-finals at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
KHALSA 79 FT. ST. JAMES 42
Watching a Khalsa Lions game, a couple of unique elements jump out at you.
First is the outstanding fan support that the Surrey school gets.
For Wednesday’s provincial Single A opening-round clash with the Fort St. James Falcons, the Lions had a throng of drum-thumping, sign-waving fans – including a busload of elementary schoolers – making themselves conspicuous in the best possible way. Khalsa gave their supporters plenty to cheer about, punching their ticket to the quarter-finals by a 78-42 score.
Look a little closer, and you’d also notice Lions head coach Doug Wong’s unique hairdo. For the championships, he’s had the names and jersey numbers of a pair of his senior players – Ranvir Rai and Daiya Dhaliwal – shaved onto the sides of his head.
“Those are two boys on our team who have been injured all year, Grade 12s, and I love these guys,” he explained. “My tribute was to put their names and number and a basketball on there, just to say hey, I’m thinking about you. It hurts not to play, but to me, they’re still a huge part of this.
“And the fan support is fantastic. We’re lucky – for Single A, you usually don’t get many people out. But with the elementary school kids, we must have had 100 people out. Tomorrow night we’re bringing another bus, so it should be good. I don’t know if the boys fully appreciate it yet as teenagers, but as they look back in years to come, they’re going to realize how lucky they were.”
As for the game itself, Wong was less excited. Despite the decisive nature of the final score, he felt his No. 5-seeded squad was far from the best version of itself against the No. 12 Falcons, particularly in the first half which saw the Lions hold leads of 15-11 and 35-20 at the first and second quarter breaks.
“I’m happy with the result, but I’m disappointed with the way we started,” said Wong, whose team outscored Fort St. James 25-6 in the third quarter to break the game open. “I just think we were stagnant – we didn’t move. Away from the ball we were very poor. We stood and watched, and we didn’t move our feet on defence. I try to stress to them that little things make the big things happen if you want to be successful.
“When I go into that change room, I’ll call a spade a spade, I’m an honest guy. The way we played today, we’re eliminated tomorrow.”
Jaskirat Sandhu led the Lions with 19 points, and three of his teammates – Harkirat Bhangu, Anmol Johal and Amrit Mangat – finished with 12 points apiece. Mangat had a Hurculean effort on the boards, snaring 17 rebounds.
Ezra Croucher had an outstanding performance for Fort St. James, racking up a game-high 20 points to go with 16 boards.
Khalsa takes on Heritage Christian in the quarter-finals at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
KING DAVID 83 B.C. CHRISTIAN 67
There will be a new champion in the Single A ranks, as the King David Lions defeated the BC Christian Academy Panthers 83-67 in the tournament opener on Wednesday.
Indeed, it seemed fitting that a school named after the man who slayed Goliath engineered the first upset of the day.
Solly Khalifa and Asher Freedman led the charge for No. 10-seeded Lions – Khalifa channeled his inner Russell Westbrook with a triple double (16 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists), while Freedman counted five three-pointers among his team-high 27 points.
Oliver Munt (17 points) and Yuval Jacob (15 points) also scored in double figures for King David, which built a massive 76-43 lead through three quarters.
The No. 7-seeded Panthers won the fourth quarter decisively (24-7), but it was too little, too late. Quentin Onyemourdi racked up a game-high 29 points for BC Christian, and Arshia Mojallal Mehr scored 21.
King David punched its ticket to the quarter-finals, where they’ll face the Similkameen-Fraser Lake winner at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
SIMILKAMEEN 115 FRASER LAKE 54
An exceedingly efficient outing from Sasha Zebroff paced the Similkameen Sparks to a decisive victory over the Fraser Lake Cougars in opening-round Single A action on Wednesday.
Zebroff, a 6’2” senior forward, rolled up a game-high 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, as the No. 2-seeded squad from Keremeos prevailed 115-54.
The outcome was not in doubt for long – the Sparks raced out to a 40-11 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended it to 60-21 at the break over their No. 15-seeded foe from the North Central zone.
The Sparks have seen their stock steadily rise throughout the season – they began the campaign as an honourable mention in the Single A rankings, but they’ve fashioned a 26-5 record and leaped from No. 7 to No. 2 in the most recent provincial poll.
Corbin Marsden contributed a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) to Similkameen’s cause, and Armaan Dhaliwal (13) and Jughraj Boparai (11) also scored in double figures.
Josh Laffin, with 23 points and nine points, paced the Cougars, and Julian Chmelyk had 16 points and seven boards.
The Sparks are off to Thursday’s quarter-finals, where they’ll take on the King David Lions at 3:30 p.m.
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN 91 GOLDEN 37
Going into his team’s Single A provincial tournament opener on Wednesday, one of Heritage Christian Saints head coach Colton Tripke’s chief concerns was how quickly his team would shake any nerves associated with playing on the biggest stage in B.C. high school hoops.
As it turned out, any nerves the Saints might have brought with them from Kelowna were left on the bus.
No. 4-seeded Heritage Christian blitzed No. 13 Golden with a 23-2 game-opening run, setting the tone for what ultimately became a 91-37 victory.
“Any time you come to a big tournament like this, you’re going to have nerves,” Tripke said afterward. “You play in a small gym, and then you come play in something like this, all the kids are feeling the excitement.
“But the nerves didn’t last long.”
The Saints’ lead was 32-6 at the end of the first quarter and 52-21 at the break, and they cruised from there.
Colton St. Pierre led the charge, pouring in a game-high 23 points highlighted by a 5-for-7 effort from three-point range. Ben Robideau (15 points, 3-for-3 from beyond the arc), Raymond Barrett (13 points) and Joshua Weeks (12 points) also scored in double figures for Heritage Christian, which saw all nine players on the roster hit the scoresheet.
John Oszust (18 points, seven rebounds) and Ethan L’Heureux (13 points, eight boards) led the way for Golden, which won the Kootenay zone title.
Heritage Christian awaits the Khalsa-Fort St. James winner in the quarter-finals (Thursday, 6:45 p.m.).
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