Vancouver College's Vince Velasquez and SMUS' Camilo Libreros (bottom) illustrate the abandon to which the two history-laden programs attacked Sunday's B.C. junior quarterfinal at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2022. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

B.C. Jr. Boys Elite 8: Van College’s 29-0 Fighting Irish top SMUS as team defence continues to be its baromtre!

LANGLEY — The Vancouver College Fighting Irish are taking care of one thing first and foremost, and it’s served them well as B.C.’s No. 1-ranked team heads into the semifinals of the provincial junior boys basketball championship semifinals on Tuesday.

“I think we’re continuing to play well, and the focus is getting stops on defence,” said Irish head coach Ryan Shams after VC once again collectively clicked those defensive tumblers en route to a 63-35 win over the No. 25-seeded St. Michaels University School Blue Jags in the second of four quarterfinal games played Sunday at the Langley Events Centre.

The win send the Irish into the Final Four on Monday where they are set to oppose the Vancouver Island champion and No. 5 seeded Oak Bay Bays of Victoria.

“No matter what, we want to be playing good D in every game and continuing to play as a team,” continued Shams, whose team is now sporting a 29-0 overall record on the campaign with keystone players like mercury-quick point guard Vince Velasquez, and paint-presence finishers like Roko Maric and talented guard Aidan Lear.

So tenacious was the Irish D, and so quick was its offensive response to a stop that it held a talented Blue Jags squad to just nine first-half points.

Maric led the winners with 12 points, while Tate Martin added 11 and Velasquez 10.

Kian Colgate scored a game-high 15 for SMUS, while guards Damon Bains and Camilo Libreros added seven points apiece.

And about the perfect record?

Shams says its record has been out into perspective by his team.

I think we are very aware that our record doesn’t mean anything unless we get it done this week,” said Shams. “We are just focussed on the fact that it’s one game at a time and that provincials is a new game, and what we did in the regular season literally means nothing.”

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