LANGLEY — Welcome to our coverage of the B.C. senior boys Triple A basketball championships. We’ve wrapped our coverage for the day.
Before we get to the game reports, here’s a look at tomorrow championship draw bracket:
TOP HALF DRAW
6:30 p.m. — Holy Cross vs. Lord Tweedsmuir
8:15 p.m. — Centennial vs. Burnaby South
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
3 p.m. — Terry Fox vs. Oak Bay
4:45 p.m. — Heritage Woods vs. Kelowna
No. 1 HOLY CROSS 107 No. 16 NORTH PEACE 67
LANGLEY — The No. 1-seeded Fraser Valley champs bolted out to a 40-7 lead after the first quarter, leaving little doubt they would match up with crosstown rivals Lord Tweedsmuir in Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. quarters.
Fifteen different Crusaders hit the scoresheet led by the dual 14-point performances of Michael Risi and Nosa Ehizode.
Jordan Bantog and Brent Padilla scored 11 points each, and Uyi Ologhola 10 points.
Liam Peterson was a stalwart for North Peace, posting game highs in points (28) and rebounds (10).
No. 9 LORD TWEEDSMUIR 81 No. 8 WEST VANCOUVER 76
LANGLEY — Drew Gallacher had seen Kitsilano and Vancouver College shown the door from the championship side of the Quad A draw earlier in the day.
And as one of the teams this season to sit at No. 1 in the Big 10 B.C. rankings, the head coach of Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers knew his team had the talent and the wherewithal to avoid that fate.
But “…that West Van team, they are so long and big and that 1-3-1 zone gives a lot of people problems,” said Gallacher.
After falling behind by as many as 13 points in the opening quarter, the Panthers were finally able to make some headway, yet it still took some clutch play down the stretch drive of the game to top the Howe Sound champions.
Austin Swedish’s lay-in off a sweet dish in the paint from Austin Corneil with 30 seconds remaining gave the Panthers a 76-74 lead.
Lord Tweedsmuir then went 5-of-6 from the stripe over the final 12.6 seconds to hold on for a victory which propels them into a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal Thursday.
Gallacher admitted he was exhausted after the game but was pleased that the team was able to bring up its level of compete to make up for their slow start.
“We just always talk about having energy at the start of a game,and today we struggled with it,” Gallacher said. “I don’t know if it was just butterflies or urgency. It wasn’t until I started to get emotional that we turned it around, I think my players play on my emotion.”
Arjun Samra was in his Tsumura Basketball Invitational MVP-type form, scoring a game-high 34 points while fellow guard Alex Le added 23. West Vancouver’s Parsa Zadeh was a force in defeat witha game-high 32 points and 16 rebounds.
No. 14 CENTENNIAL 83 NO. 3 VANCOUVER COLLEGE 82
LANGLEY — This morning, before classes had even begun at Centennial Secondary in Coquitlam, Centaurs’ Grade 11 forward Leif Skelding was already in the gymnasium working on his long-range jumper.
It was the first day of provincials, after all, but then again, Skelding and his teammates have long practiced like every day already was.
Perhaps that’s why, when it mattered most, Skelding was ready to hit the biggest shot of his life.
After taking a baseline inbounds under his own basket with five seconds remaining, Skelding pushed his dribble down court and, as the game clock expired, hit a 31-foot triple from the wing that forced overtime and helped the No. 13 Centaurs eventually beat the No. 4 seed Vancouver College Fighting Irish 83-82.
“What was going through my head was I was just going to come down and take that shot and have confidence in it because I have taken that shot in the gym thousands of times,” said Skelding. “This morning I was in before school getting up more shot. It’s a grind, but it’s worth it.”
Overtime also had its share of drama.
The Irish’s Toni Maric had scored on a lay-in with 1:07 left to give VC an 82-81 lead, but Kyle Jang’s two made free throws with 51.6 seconds left put the Centaurs ahead to stay. Dominic Parolin came up with a huge defensive rebound as the seconds ticked downed the Irish failed to score.
“That was a pretty emotional win and I am just so proud that our guys never gave up,” said Centennial head coach Rob Sollero. “Leif hitting that three with the game on the line, Kyle with his two free throws, Dom (Parolin) with his rebound right before the end. Those guys are in the gym every morning working on those situations.”
The Centaurs were injury riddled all season and did not find their stride until the Fraser Valley championships.
As Skelding admitted, they had nothing to lose coming into the tournament with a sub-.500 record.
“We have just been so injured but team chemistry has just kept getting better,” said Skedling. “We were (17-21) coming in so we really had that underdog mentality.”
Maric had a 31-point, 18-rebound game for Vancouver College while Sahil Sandhu had 16 points and eight rebounds, and Josh Lum-Tong 13 points.
Skelding led Centennial with 23 points, while guard Terry Cho added 18, Parolin 17 and Ivan Denyyssevych 10.
Earlier in the day. No. 2 seed Kitsilano fell to No. 15 seed Heritage Woods, meaning Burnaby South is the only Lower Mainland team remaining in the 16-team draw.
“Our game plan was we had to play good D on them and take away their three ball,” said Sollero. “Credit to Tony and Sahil inside. They did a fantastic job. But we told the boys that if we compete, that we could beat these guys.”
No. 5 BURNABY SOUTH 114 No. 12 WALNUT GROVE 84
LANGLEY — Extra, extra, read all about it!
If the Burnaby South Rebels didn’t have enough motivation to try to repeat as B.C. senior boys Quad-A basketball champions, they have it now.
“There’s definitely a chip on our shoulder,” explained Rebels head coach Mike Bell following him’s decisive win over Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators when asked how his team was feeling about having to forfeit a game for using an ineligible player during the recent Lower Mainland playoffs, thus having to win four straight sudden-elimination games just to get to the LEC.
“We feel like we went undefeated in the Lower Mainlands,” Bell continued after his team turned it on over the second half to beat the Gators going away. “Even though we had to forfeit, nobody beat us. We know where we stand. We just have to come out here and play another three games of good basketball. That’s all we want.”
Justin Sunga, the Grade 10 guard with one of the most explosive dribble-drive bursts in the province, scored a co-game-high 27 points. Post Sasja Vujisic had 18 points and 16 rebounds, while guards Jio Khan and Kyle Kirmaci added 22 and 13 points respectively.
Nolan Premack had 27 points and 13 rebounds for Walnut Grove while guard Jarrett Jacobs had 23 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Kyle Kong had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Rebels lost senior forward Aidan Wilson to a leg injury but Bell was uncertain of his status.
The Rebels will meet the winner of a later game between Vancouver College and Centennial.
No. 6 OAK BAY 91 No. 11 W.J. MOUAT 65
LANGLEY — So what’s the second-most dangerous thing about Diego Maffia?
Well, if you are going to send numbers his way, it won’t take him too long before he starts to morph from the scorer into the playmaker.
Maffia’s 6-of-26 shooting performance wasn’t vintage, yet his 10-assist performance with a five-to-one turnover ratio still spoke volumes as the Bays moved on to a quarterfinal matchup with Terry Fox on Wednesday following a comfortable win over Abby’s W.J. Mouat Hawks.
“Before the game, we talked about everyone being confident and just playing,” said Maffia, who directed his passing skills at younger brother Lucas Maffia. “Not being a one-man show was important and that is not what I want for this team. We’re here to win it.”
The Maffia brothers each scored a game-high 24 points in the win while Jamie Molins added 17.
“He realized what Mouat was trying to do and so he had his head up and he moved the ball,” said Bays head coach Chris Franklin. “It’s so nice when he is able to connect with his brother, and Lucas has come a long way this season.”
Aware that he has just three more games remaining with his sibling, Diego Maffia said he was’t taking the next three games for granted.
“When he gets going, when he gets his shot going, it’s amazing to play with him,” Maffia said. “And we’ve got that brotherly connection. It’s going to be special over the next few games.”
Mouat produced balanced scoring with five double-digit scorers, yet their time on the championship side of the draw came to a disappointing close.
Manvir Johal with 17 points, Gershaun Sarowa with 15 and Prabh Sran with 13 led the way.
No 3 TERRY FOX 119 MT. BAKER 45
LANGLEY — Coming off a 20-point loss in the Fraser Valley championship final, PoCo’s Ravens were looking to get back into their flow.
Cam Slaymaker scored 24 points and Jacob Mand added 21 more ass the Ravens beat Cranbrook’s Mt. Baker Wild.
Jaden De Leon’s return to health was key, and the guard added 17 points, while fellow guard Ko Takahashi added 15.
Carter Marlow with 13 points led the Wild.
No. 15 HERITAGE WOODS 81 No. 2 KITSILANO 68
LANGLEY — Whether Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Kodiaks knew it or not, they had spent their entire season hard at work in search of the moment they found themselves in Wednesday as the B.C. senior boys Quad A basketball championships opened at the Langley Events Centre.
In one of the biggest opening-round upsets in tournament history, the No. 15-seeded Kodiaks stunned the No. 2-seeded Lower Mainland champion Kitsilano Blue Demons 81-68, leading wire-to-wire in a game in which they built their lead to as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.
That it came against a Kitsilano team which may have come into the B.C. draw as the province’s hottest team only added to the madness.
“Yeah, that concerned me,” admitted Heritage Woods head coach Chris Martin. “But this place is a funny place. You can go from hot to cold very quickly.”
Back in 1995, the No. 16-seeded Van Tech Talismen upset the No. 1 Terry Fox Ravens in the game that sets the bar. Last season, No. 3 Handsworth lost in the opening round to No. 14 Holy Cross.
The Kodiaks, the No. 7 seeds from the Fraser Valley, never let the fact that they had to win a sudden-elimination game just to be here, get in the way of their confidence.
In fact they used their underdog status to stoke their competitive fire.
First, eliminating provincially-ranked Tamanawis at the Fraser Valley championships. Then beating Guildford Park in loser-go-home game for their zone’s seven-and-final B.C. berth.
And so as they awoke Wednesday morning, senior post Zach Hamed had no doubt what was going to happen.
“Before the game I spoke to my team and said ‘We are going to win this game,’” said Hamed, the 6-foot-7 interior force who scored 25 points and grabbed 25 rebounds. We said ‘March 6,10 a.m. is a great day for an upset’ and it was.”
How did they do it?
“They are a really athletic team,” confirmed Martin. “Our keys were we wanted to control tempo, get the ball up floor quickly because we are a fit team, and get good shots.”
From a conditioning standpoint, Martin has been a taskmaster over the years, but as Hamed said afterwards, it all paid off.
“It’s the most insane stuff you will ever think of,” Hamed said. “In years past, we’d be there at like 6 or 7 in the mornings, sprinting the stairs. It’s been crazy, but back in the ninth grade I was so out of shape and I had no basketball skills. (Martin) has been the key to my success.”
From a strategy standpoint, the Kodiaks expected the Blue Demons’ 2-3 zone, and they got it.
The key from their standpoint?
“We noticed there was a bit of gap in the top of the zone, so we tried to pound it in there and then look for a guy cutting to the rim. If it wasn’t there, kick it out and have some guys hit some big shots.”
With Nik Bartulin and Morgan Liski taking turns as high-post passers and Hamed doing the rugged work inside, Heritage Woods showed the inside-outside balance it would need.
Arshia Movassaghi, the 6-foot-4 senior guard, scored 25 points, while Liski had 14 points and eight rebounds.
Kitsilano, who mounted a furious rally over the late stages of the game to get to within as few as nine points, were led by the 26 points of guard Luka Dolman. Post Everest Jags with 12 and guard Peter Li with 10 also hit double figures in the loss for Kits.
“I think the theme this year was if we could just get here we could make some noise,” said Martin. “I really felt that we could play with any team here and we just proved it.”
The Kodiaks will face Kelowna in a 4:45 p.m. quarterfinal on Thursday.
No. 7 KELOWNA 58 No. 10 BELMONT 49
LANGLEY — The rarest occurence on the court Wednesday?
How about an easy basket by the Belmont Bulldogs.
Two well-drilled teams clashed to open the Quad A draw here at the LEC, but in the end, the difference was a lock-down Owls’ defence, one which seemed to contest every dribble, cut and pass made by Victoria’s Bulldogs.
“Defensively we were good,” said happy Owls head coach Harry Parmar after Kelowna surged in the fourth quarter to gain the separation it needed to register a nine-point win. “We’re tiny, but I thought we were good. We sunk in (and offensively) we just found a way to win and that is what you have to do here. But you have to play defence.
“In first games you just don’t know what might happen,” continued Parmar, whose team clung to a 29-28 halftime lead. “But Ethan Braam stepped up to give us some great minutes. He was huge.”
The Owls did not play the 6-foot-4 Grade 11 forward in the first half, but once Belmont went to a zone in the second half, he came in and got the job done.
Braam went 4-for-4 from the field, hit a triple, scored nine points and grabbed four boards in support of the dynamic duo of Parker Johnstone (23 points, seven rebounds) and Hunter Simson (17 points, five rebounds).
“All we had to do was win with our defence,” said Johnstone. “For us it’s a mentality and Parmar has been working with us all year about just locking it in.”
The Bulldogs suffered a major blow when Grade 11 forward Markus Modrivic (15 points, 14 rebounds) injured his leg battling for a third consecutive offensive rebound. He was helped off the floor with 9:36 left in the game and Belmont was not the same the rest of the way.
Max Leeder and Daunte Nelson added 13 points apiece for Belmont.
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