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.
STORIES BY DAN KINVIG
(Special to Varsity Letters)
BRENTWOOD COLLEGE 94 GRAND FORKS 30
Brentwood College is the prohibitive favourite in the AA draw, and they showed exactly why on Wednesday in a 94-30 opening-round win over the Grand Forks Wolves.
The defending provincial champs authored the most lopsided score of the day in the AA tournament, as their deep, versatile, talented lineup showed it was worthy of all those adjectives and more as they cruised past the Kootenay zone winners.
No. 1-seeded Brentwood built leads of 27-6, 56-13 and 78-17 at the quarter breaks, and despite the offensive pyrotechnics, their scoring was so spread out, they didn’t have a player hit the 20-point plateau. But six scored in double digits: Brendan Sullivan (15), Olamide Olatunbosun (13), Nathan Pasloske (12), Grant Dillard (10), Ian Grabher (10) and Somto Dimonachie (10).
Dimonachie punctuated Brentwood’s torrid start with a thunderous throwdown on the break in the first quarter, and Olatunbosun’s nine boards helped his squad own a two-to-one edge (64-32) in the rebounding department.
Noor Sibat (nine points, five rebounds, two blocks) and Liam McKinley (nine points, five boards) were the top scorers for the No. 16 Wolves.
Brentwood College moves on to face the Shawnigan Lake Stags in the quarter-finals at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
SHAWNIGAN LAKE 71 PACIFIC ACADEMY 65
The Shawnigan Lake Stags staged a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback to knock off the Pacific Academy Breakers 71-65 in the AA provincial tourney opener for both teams on Wednesday evening.
It was easily the most entertaining game of the day thus far in the LEC’s Building B, befitting the two teams’ side-by-side seedings – Shawnigan came in at No. 8, Pacific Academy at No. 9.
The Breakers threw a high-intensity halfcourt trapping defence at the Stags in the first half and found success with it, taking a 38-35 lead into the break. They continued the stretch their advantage in the third quarter and appeared to be in control, nursing a lead in the neighbourhood of 10 points for much of the third and into the fourth.
But the Stags kept scrapping. Trailing 57-50 midway through the final frame, they reeled off a 9-0 run to take their first lead of the half. Pacific Academy had an answer in the form of senior point guard Josh Barlin, who drained back-to-back triples to restore a 65-61 lead for his squad with just over two minutes left in regulation.
But Shawnigan Lake’s DruLeo Leusogi-Ape responded with a trey of his own on the very next trip down the court, and Nic Karmal fed Scott Leslie for a fast-break layup on the Stags’ next possession. The Island squad led 66-65 with less than a minute remaining, and after stopping the Breakers on their next trip, they finished off the win at the free throw line.
“It was a scary first game, but first games are always like that – everybody’s tight,” Stags coach Vito Pasquale said with a wry grin afterward. “We came out really strong, but we gave them confidence when we turned the ball over. They made some shots, and they became a totally different team. How many times did we turn over the ball and didn’t even get a chance to shoot it? That was a big problem. We had 16 in the first half and probably had another dozen in the second half (actually 15). You can’t play in the B.C.’s turning the ball over like that.
“I think we just calmed down. You noticed the game slowed down, and we got some shots. And our big guy got to the rim, and good things happened.”
That “big guy” was Sergio Pereira, the Stags’ 6’11” centre. The Grade 11 student was a revelation – he racked up 27 points, 21 rebounds and four blocks, and provided a handful of highlight-reel dunks. The most memorable was a high-flying alley-oop from Leusogi-Ape in the second quarter, and later on, he rattled the rim with a two-hander to beat the third-quarter buzzer.
Leusogi-Ape contributed 19 points and nine boards for Shawnigan Lake, while Leslie finished with 13 points.
The Breakers, coming off their first Fraser Valley title since 2006, got big games from the Adkins twins, Ethan (19 points) and Keyan (16 points, nine boards), along with Barlin (17 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Michael Chifan (10 points, 13 boards).
The Stags advance to the quarter-finals, where they’ll take on the Brentwood College-Grand Forks winner at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
CHARLES HAYS 63, R.C. PALMER 49
Venture into the paint against the Charles Hays Rainmakers at your own risk.
The Prince Rupert squad’s nickname evokes a Golden State Warriors-like proficiency from beyond the arc, but these Rainmakers actually missed all 21 of their three-point attempts in their AA provincial tourney opener on Wednesday.
Where their strength lies is in the paint, and they dominated those metrics in a 63-49 victory over Richmond’s R.C. Palmer Griffins.
The No. 4-seeded Rainmakers blocked an incredible 14 shots, with lanky forward Liam McChesney (five) and 5’6” guard Malcolm Brown (four) leading the way in that department. They also owned the boards to the tune of a 53-36 rebounding advantage. Big men Kai Leighton (26 points) and McChesney (14 points) set the pace offensively, and pulled down a dozen rebounds apiece.
Andrew Reddy had a standout performance for the No. 13 Griffins with 25 points (8-of-10 from the free throw line) and 11 rebounds, and Steven Ang scored 14.
Charles Hays moves on to the quarter-finals, where they’ll clash with the Seycove Seyhawks at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
SEYCOVE 76 D.P. TODD 66
The Seycove Seyhawks haven’t made provincial championship appearances very frequently, but they’re making this one count.
The North Vancouver school, participating in just its second senior boys AA basketball provincials in 34 years, won its opening-round game Wednesday afternoon, taking down Prince George’s D.P. Todd Trojans 72-66.
The Seyhawks built a 57-34 lead at the end of the third quarter, and while the Trojans mounted a 32-15 rally in the fourth, the deficit was too much to overcome.
Afterward, Seycove head coach Teresa Popowych-Ross noted that her youthful squad set its sights high when they first convened last fall. The previous season had come to an end in heartbreaking fashion, losing in the Howe Sound final with the zone’s lone provincial berth on the line. Nine seniors graduated from that team, leaving just four rising Grade 12s and 10 underclassmen to comprise the Seyhawks.
Seycove, though, survived a five-games-in-six-days gauntlet to win the double-knockout Howe Sound tournament, which wrapped up on Saturday. Despite battling tired legs at times, they got the job done vs. D.P. Todd on Wednesday.
“We never know if the Howe Sound is going to get one berth or two berths to provincials, so we decided in September that we were going to win the Howe Sound championship,” Popowych-Ross recalled with a smile. “That was our goal from the beginning of the year. We practiced so hard, we got as many games and tournaments as we could, and we developed the younger guys on a really young team. And that’s how we got here – grit and grind.”
Leading the grind for the Seyhawks were perimeter players Dylon Matthews (25 points, four assists) and Douglas Musselman (23 points, nine rebounds, five assists, 5-of-9 from three-point range). Forward Christopher Ross contributed a double-double (16 points, 15 boards) for the winners, who advance to face the Charles Hays-R.C. Palmer winner at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
Cameron Sale scored 17 points for D.P. Todd, and Raymon Dhillon (16 points), Holden Black (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Saagar Shergil (14 points) also scored in double figures.
WESTSYDE 55 SOUTHRIDGE 37
A massive first-half run powered Spencer Ledoux and the AA No. 2 Westsyde Whundas to a 55-37 victory in their opening-round clash with the Southridge Storm on Wednesday.
Southridge scored four of the game’s first six points, but the Whundas responded with a 25-2 surge bridging the first and second quarters to seize control. In the middle of everything was Ledoux – the 6’6” senior forward racked up 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the first half.
The No. 15-seeded Storm came out of the locker room with a renewed defensive focus. They limited Ledoux to two points on 1-of-10 shooting the rest of the way, and held the Whundas as a team to just 16 points in the second half.
But they were only able to muster 21 second-half points themselves, part of a game-long offensive struggle which saw them hit just 18.8 per cent of their shots from the field.
Ledoux supplemented his 18 points with 11 rebounds and three blocks, Carsen Day scored 12 points, and Nathan Strank hauled down 12 boards to go with seven points and five assists for the Kamloops-based Whundas.
Surrey’s Storm were led by Aidan Alderson’s 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Whundas move on to face the Clarence Fulton Maroons in the quarter-finals at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.
CLARENCE FULTON 58 COLLINGWOOD 50
LANGLEY — Few teams are better equipped for a defensive slugfest than the Clarence Fulton Maroons.
The No. 10-seeded AA squad from Vernon not only boasts four seniors – Isaac Olson, Nathan Banga, Caden Doyle and Hunter Krieger – who are three-year starters at the varsity level, all four of them are multisport athletes who also suit up for the football and rugby teams.
In Wednesday’s rugged round-of-16 clash with the No. 7 Collingwood Cavaliers, Fulton’s blend of grit and experience proved pivotal as they clawed out a 58-50 victory.
Both teams smothered one another for long stretches with airtight zone defences, but it was the Maroons making a few more offensive plays to punch their ticket to the quarter-finals.
“My whole team plays football, and they all play rugby,” Fulton coach Dale Olson said with a chuckle. “We’re a school of 500, right? So they’ve got to play everything.
“That’s our game – we play physical. Normally we get to the basket and finish a little better – that didn’t happen. But as you saw, we played pretty good defence.”
Indeed, the Maroons limited the Cavs to 22.4 per cent shooting from the field. Collingwood, though, was able to stay in it thanks to their hard work on the offensive boards. They collected 18 of their own misses to generate additional possessions.
Neither team fared well from beyond the arc – Collingwood went 4-for-35, and Fulton was 3-for-23.
Kreiger and Banga paced the Maroons with 19 points apiece, and Kreiger (12 rebounds) and Doyle (10 points, 13 boards) both registered double-doubles. Brodie Jacobs, with 21 points, was the Cavs’ top scorer.
Fulton advances to face the Westsyde-Southridge winner in Thursday’s quarter-finals at 8:15 p.m.
“From a coach’s perspective, it wasn’t pretty – we’ve played a lot prettier games than that,” Olson said with a smile. “But hey, a win’s a win when you get to the championship.”
BRITANNIA 78 LANGLEY CHRISTIAN 60
LANGLEY — The Britannia Bruins are at their best offensively when they’re sprinting in transition, and more often than not, the player who lights their fast-break fuse is Joshua Kagande.
The Bruins’ Grade 11 point guard was the catalyst on Wednesday as the AA draw’s No. 6 seed fended off the No. 11 Langley Christian Lightning 78-60 in the round of 16.
Britannia appeared to be in complete control early, leading 18-6 at the end of the first quarter and 36-19 at the half. But the hometown Lightning mounted a determined second-half push, trimming the deficit to seven points (45-38) late in the third quarter.
Kagande seized the game by the scruff of the neck at that point, though. After teammate Kobe McKnight hit a driving layup, Kagande came up with a massive block at the defensive end and then scored five quick points – including a pair of fast-break layups after he stole the ball – to get the lead back to double digits at 54-43 going to the fourth. The Bruins kept Langley Christian at bay from there.
“The main thing with us is playing defence,” Britannia coach Wayne Hoang said afterward. “We have a lot of firepower, but when we’re playing our best defence, it leads to our best offence.
“There were spurts in the game where we weren’t playing good defence and they were scoring. That made us play offence in the halfcourt, and honestly . . . we’re not very good in the halfcourt. But once Josh got in the game and got five or six steals in a row, he really propelled our win.”
Kagande finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and an eye-popping nine steals. Marlon Edgar Apps tied him for team-high scoring honours, and McKnight finished with 20 points.
Langley Christian’s Asher Mayan racked up 24 points and nine boards, but was hounded into 10 turnovers by Kagande and the Bruins. Cole Addison added 18 points.
“He’s been our rock on defence,” Hoang said of Kagande. “It all starts with Josh – he’s our point guard, he’s our leader, and he’s only in Grade 11. He’s a freak athlete. We stick him on the other team’s best player, whether he’s 6’4” like No. 20 (Mayan) was, or 5’7”. He’s averaging almost a triple double . . . I honestly think he’s the most athletic player in the province, all tiers.”
The Bruins move on to face the King George Dragons in Thursday’s quarter-finals at 6:45 p.m.
KING GEORGE 93 SA-HALI 43
Despite drawing the first tip-off time of the day, the King George Dragons’ vaunted defence had plenty of early-morning energy in their AA provincial opener on Wednesday.
The No. 3-seeded Dragons, who came into the tourney having held their opponents under 50 points in 30 of 35 games this season, turned the trick once again in the round of 16 against the No. 14 Sa-Hali Sabres, prevailing 93-43.
The Dragons set the tone in the first quarter, limiting Sa-Hali to just seven points while pouring in 26 themselves, and they continued to extend the lead from there.
Boris Obradovic lit the fuse for King George, racking up all of his 14 points in the first quarter. Three players – Dhol Baboth, Raz Gugasyan and Mohab Mundadi – tied him for team-high scoring honours as the Dragons showcased a balanced attack.
Jacob Branch (eight points) and Jarrett Larsen (seven) were the Sabres’ top scorers.
The Dragons advance to face the Langley Christian-Britannia winner in the quarter-finals at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.