LANGLEY — Welcome back loyal Varsity Letters readers. We’ve now gone final on our B.C. Quad A reports from Thursday. Here’s reports on all four Elite 8 contests.
Those game reports follow below, but first here’s a look at Friday’s Final Four:
Top Half Draw
7 p.m. — No. 9 Lord Tweedsmuir vs. No. 5 Burnaby South
Bottom Half Draw
8:45 p.m. — No. 7 Kelowna vs. No. 3 Terry Fox
TOP HALF DRAW
No. 9 LORD TWEEDSMUIR 79 No. 1 HOLY CROSS 69
LANGLEY —Everything the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers had built over a season in which they had spent time as this province’s No. 1-ranked Quad A team seemed to have evaporated into thin air.
Off the opening tip of their quarterfinal match-up against the No. 1-seeded Holy Cross Crusaders, the Panthers looked like a collective deer staring into the headlights of the oncoming Holy Cross Crusaders.
The Surrey school was so dialled in that they had rolled out to a 22-2 lead over the Panthers.
Lord Tweedsmuir head coach Drew Gallacher knew he didn’t need his grease-board to diagram a new play for his team, he just knew at that moment he needed to reach them.
“I called a time-out to try to settle them,” said Gallacher. “I knew it wasn’t so much our Xs and Os. At that time we were so over-aroused all I said to them was Believe. This seven-year journey with our core was meant for this game. All those practices. All the times we made them run, was for them to have a little bit of mental toughness. They came through and I am so proud of this group.”
The Panthers went on a 14-2 run of their own to the end of the quarter to pull within 24-16 after 10 minutes and used that momentum to salvage a 79-69 victory from what looked like certain defeat.
Lord Tweedsmuir, in fact, made it a 34-point swing at one stage as they built their lead to as many as 14 points with 1:28 left in the game.
Arjun Samra with 20 points, and Elijah Devison with 14 points and 15 rebounds led the charge.
Brent Padila had 26 for Holy Cross, while teammates Michael Risi and Uyi Ologhola added 16 and 12 respectively.
“This is the biggest game of my life,” an emotional Gallacher said. “It’s even bigger than winning a provincial championship in Grade 9. I would argue that this is one of the favourite moments of my life. It’s that important to me.”
The Panthers will play the winner of the Burnaby South vs. Centennial quarterfinal in Friday’s 7 pm. semifinal.
No. 5 BURNABY SOUTH 81 No. 13 CENTENNIAL 60
LANGLEY — The Burnaby South Rebels know how dangerous Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers can be when they are playing at their best.
Back in early December, the two teams met right here at the LEC in the championship final of the Tsumura Basketball Invitational, and it was the Panthers coming away with an 81-60 victory.
The next act in that saga has huge stakes as the Rebels, 81-60 winners over Coquitlam’s Centennial Centaurs in Thursday’s B.C. quarterfinal round, clash with the Panthers in a 7 p.m. semifinal Friday.
“We have seen them at their best and they had a good game plan today,” Burnaby South head coach Mike Bell said as he watched parts of the contest before his team’s game. “For Tweedsmuir to be down 20 to start the game and show their resilience and compete level was really something. But our guys love the spotlight, and tomorrow’s a spotlight game.”
That’s not to say the Rebels were fumbling around in the dark Friday against Centennial.
The Centaurs, who had upset No. 4 Vancouver College the day before, trailed 50-39 heading into the fourth quarter, a deficit which still kept them within striking distance.
Yet the Rebels simply took over in the fourth, with Kyle Kirmaci, Justin Sunga and Jio Khan combining to score 21 of the team’s 31 points over the final frame.
Sasha Vujisic, who was helped to the bench after suffering an ankle injury, led the Rebels with 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Bell said afterwards he loved the way his big man competed, especially going up against a player the quality of Centennial’s Dominic Parolin.
“Dom had the first game on him, so Sasha really wanted this game,” said Bell, referencing the fact that while the Rebels beat Centennial 85-69 in its TBI opener last December, Parolin played so well he had both Vujisic and Aidan Wilson in foul trouble. “He had that in the back of his mind, that he wanted to prove himself as a big man because Dom is a great player.”
Sunga had another great game with 16 points in the win while Baltej Sohal added 13.
Parolin actually wound up scoring more points that Vujisic, putting up a game-high 23 points but had seven fewer rebounds than Vujisic with eight.
No other Centaurs reached double figures in scoring.
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
No. 7 KELOWNA 84 No.15 HERITAGE WOODS 77
LANGLEY — When it comes to winning the closest of games, Harry Parmar has a system of measure which his players have no problem understanding.
“Winning is doing the little things,” said Parmar, the head coach of the freshly-minted Final Four-bound Kelowna Owls after his team edged Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Kodiaks down the stretch 84-77. “I call it ‘the inches’. That was a two-possession game. If you do something wrong on one possession and you lose by two, whose fault is that?”
The Owls may have missed a bunch of free throws down the stretch but they still did enough things right, mostly coming from their defensive heart, to beat a Heritage Woods team playing as well as any team in the field.
Some of Parmar’s favourite one-inch measures?
“Loose balls, rebounds, not boxing out, letting someone get over your head, not trapping hard,” he said.
And today’s win, the biggest of the season for his young team?
“I call it a five-inch win and those inches came at the end of the game when we got the turnovers,” Parmar added. “We get them because we worked so hard. Teams start to turn the ball over in the last two to three minutes. Hopefully we can take their legs and win a close one.”
The Owls have an even bigger one in Friday’s Final Four against the Terry Fox Ravens at 8:45 p.m.
“Today was better than yesterday, and we’re hoping to play our best game tomorrow,” said Parmar. “I don’t care if we lose if we play our best game.”
Arshia Movassaghi led Heritage Woods 29 points and 14 rebounds, while Zach Hamed aded 11 points and 18 rebounds.
Parker Johnstone led Kelowna with 30 points, while Hunter Simson added 15.
No. 3 TERRY FOX 100 No. 6 OAK BAY 66
LANGLEY — The Holy Cross Crusaders took the No. 1 ranking, and by virtue of it, the No. 1 tournament seeding at this week’s B.C. senior boys Quad A basketball championships on the heels of their dominant 20-point win over Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Ravens in the Fraser Valley title game almost two weeks ago.
Yet as the B.C.’s hit the quarterfinal stage Thursday here at the Langley Events Centre, it’s a pretty safe statement to make that the Ravens look like their good, old No. 1 selves once again, too.
“Losing in the Fraser Valleys made us an even better team,” Terry Fox senior forward Grady Stanyer said after the No. 3-seeded Ravens’ rolled past Victoria’s No. 6 Oak Bay Bays 100-66, earning a spot in Friday’s Final Four.
“Bouncing back with a win like this gives us the confidence that we had all season,” continued the 6-foot-5 Stanyer, whose beast-like performance yielded 22 points and 21 rebounds.
Renewing their commitment to defence in Wednesday’s 119-45 tourney-opening win over Mt. Baker, then showing they could extend it to another level against a tournament-contending team like the Bays seemed proof of that.
Terry Fox put its best effort forward to try to slow Oak Bay star Diego Maffia while paying its due respect to the rest of the roster.
“The term Brad and I used was ‘ticking boxes’,” said assistant coach Mark Prinster of the way he and head coach Brad Petersen tried to get ready to play Oak Bay. “And you can’t prepare for Oak Bay and not think of Diego. We just wanted to make him give up the ball and not get it back, but they have other pieces. So we were really proud of the effort of our guys, especially in the third quarter.”
That frame ended as a plus-18 on the scoreboard for the Ravens and seemed to put the game away.
Grade 10 guard Cam Slaymaker’s 31-points, 10-rebound double-double was as impressive as Stanyer’s. Meawhile guards David Chien (20 points) and Jaden DeLeon (13) also scored well.
Maffia scored 23 points for the Bays on 8-of-29 shooting, while Jordane Burke added 15
The victory sends Terry Fox into a Final Four clash with the winner of Thursday’s second quarterfinal between Heritage Woods of Port Moody and Kelowna.
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