LANGLEY — Here is the draw for the Sweet 16 portion of the B.C. junior boys basketball championships, set to tip off at 4 p.m.
Check back on this posting throughout the evening for game-by-game reports which are bing posted below the draw:
TOP HALF DRAW
QUADRANT A (Centre Court)
4 p.m. — SMUS (Van Isle-4) vs. Claremont (Van Isle-2)
5:30 p.m. — Vancouver College (Indy-1) vs. Rutland (Thomspon-Okanagan-2
(Winners meet 12:30 p.m. Sunday in Quarterfinals)
QUADRANT B (South Court)
4 p.m. — Oak Bay (Van Isle-1) vs. Rick Hansen Eastern Valley-2)
5:30 p.m. — Lord Byng (Vancouver-1) vs. Brookswood (host)
(Winners meet 11 a.m. Sunday in Quarterfinals)
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
QUADRANT C (Centre Court)
7 p.m. — Kelowna (Thompson-Okanagan-1) vs. St. Patrick’s (play-in)
8:30 p.m. — Fleetwood Park (SF-1) vs. Walnut Grove (East Valley-3)
(Winners meet 2:00 p.m. Sunday in Quarterfinals)
QUARDANT D (South Court)
7 p.m. — Spectrum (at-large) vs. West Vancouver (North Shore-2)
8:30 p.m. — Burnaby South (Fraser North-1) vs. Tamanawis (South Fraser-3)
(Winners meet 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Quarterfinals)
All Sunday quarterfinals at South Court.
ST. MICHAELS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL 46 CLAREMONT 39
LANGLEY — The underdogs have landed here at the B.C. senior boys high school basketball championships.
Victoria’s St. Michaels University School Blue Jags may be the 25th seeded team in the 32-team field, but as their first day of provincials comes to an end, they find themselves as a part of the Elite 8.
“We just played with a lot of heart, that’s what it comes down to,” explained Jags’ head coach Jamie Yorath after SMUS, a 61-58 upset winner this morning against Surrey’s Semiahmoo Totems, followed in the evening with a 46-39 win over its crosstown rivals, the Claremont Spartans.
SMUS will now face the winner of the night’s next Sweet 16 game between powerhouse Vancouver College and Rutland in a 12:30 p.m. quarterfinal on Sunday.
Saturday’s win over the Spartans was no easy task.
It was the fifth time the two teams had met this season, and although SMUS had won the first three, the Spartans had beaten them in the Vancouver Island semifinals.
On Saturday, Claremont led most of the way but the Jags found a way to scrap and claw, gaining separation down the stretch.
“It’s really tough when you play the same team that many times,” said Yorath. “It was a lot of junkyard defences, really mixing it up… and I think we all knew it was going to be a grindy, tough game.”
St. Michaels was led by the 23 points of 6-foot-1 guard Kian Colgate, who scored 15 points in the final half and finished with a trio of triples.
Damon Bains and Camilo Liberos each scored nine.
For the Spartans, who led 21-18 at the half, J Helman scored 12 points and Justin Peng added 10 points.
OAK BAY 68 RICK HANSEN 44
LANGLEY — Victoria’s Bays, the Island champions, surrendered 20 points in the opening quarter to Abbotsford’s Rick Hansen Hurricanes.
But they only allowed 24 total the remaining three quarters.
It all added up to a tidy victory as Toren Franklin scored 19 points in the winning cause.
Finnley Lillis added 16 points and Diem Orser another 11 for the winners.
Jovan Kooner led the Hurricanes with 15 points.
Oak Bay will now face the winner of a later Saturday game between Lord Byng and Brookswood, in Sunday’s 11 a.m. quarter final.
VANCOUVER COLLEGE 78 RUTLAND 32
LANGLEY — The Fighting Irish continued their undefeated ways here, winning for the 28th straight time against no losses following its decisive win over Kelowna’s VooDoos.
Aidan Lear led the winners with 20 points while Finn Teasdale added a further 18.
Rutland, which was held to just three points in the second quarter, was led by the 13 points of Eli Ball.
The Irish will face SMUS in a Sunday quarterfinal tipping off at 12:30 p.m.
BROOKSWOOD 50 LORD BYNG 48
LANGLEY — Everything is relative here at the B.C. junior boys basketball championships, but when Brookswood Bobcats head coach Kelsey Stewart tells you he has been coaching many of his player for a long time, he’s not kidding.
“A lot of this team has been around since Grade 2 when I started coaching them” said Stewart after the host Bobcats knocked off Vancouver’s Lord Byng Grey Ghosts to claim a berth in Sunday’s quarterfinals against the Vancouver Island champion Oak Bay Bays.
“We’ve been down in the states playing some big dudes, and we took our lumps, dowen to teh sttes and playign some big dudes and we took our lumps, and now it looks like we’re finally getting it.”
Quite incredibly, the Bobcats fell behind 23-12 at the end of the first quarter to the Grey Ghosts, but proceeded to do a complete about-face defensively the rest of the night en route to its 50-48 win.
In fact it was the head coach’s son, 6-foot-3 Grade 9 Logan Stewart who made sure his team was headed to the Elite 8 as he turned the tide for a final time with just under two minutes remaining.
The young Stewart made a block to key transition, then joined his team on its ensuing half-court possession, coming off a screen and nailing a trey from the baseline corner for a 50-45 lead.
But team defence was the story.
“This one here, was a little afraid at the start,” said coach Stewart. “I thought maybe we were in over our heads, but we challenged them to respond and they did defensively. We gave up 23 first quarter and then 25 the rest of the game.”
Lord Byng’s dead-eye shooter Eli Mullin answered back with his fourth triple of the game to make it 50-48 but the Bobcats’ defence held and the team erupted in a half-court celebration following the final horn.
Logan Stewart finished with a game-high 27 points, while LJ Carmichael added 14. Jeffery Brown led the Grey Ghosts with 19 points while Mullin added 12 more.
ST. PATRICK’S 64 KELOWNA 43
LANGLEY — The defending champion Celtics came into the provincials as a play-in entry, the last team to qualify in the 32-team field.
Yet as they have made a tradition of in past years, St. Pat’s is surging into the Elite 8 on Sunday.
Jovin Sunner led the Celts with 23 points, while Jerome Alojado added another 11.
The Celtics will face the winner of the day’s final game between Fleetwood Park and Walnut Grove in a 2 p.m. Sunday quarterfinal.
WEST VANCOUVER 60 SPECTRUM 52
LANGLEY — West Vancouver’s Highlanders were able to match a late surge by Victoria’s Spectrum Thunder, getting clutch hoops down the stretch drive from Marko Slavkovic and Amir Mojorandi to emerge eight-point victors.
Coming in as North Shore No. 2, the Highlanders have advanced to the quarterfinal round where they will face the Burnaby South/Tamanawis winner in a 3:30 clash Sunday.
Slavkovic led the winners with 18 points, while Calvin Kuzyk had 15 points and Finn Chapman nine.
Justin Hinrichsen led the Thunder with 14 points, while Justin Le and Tyler Felt each scored 13 points.
FLEETWOOD PARK 52 WALNUT GROVE 51
LANGLEY — They abided by the 50 per cent capacity rules on the opening day of the B.C. junior boys basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre.
Yet based on the passion, emotion and flat-out volume brought to proceedings by the cheering sections for the final game of the night, supporters for Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Dragons and Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators made it sound and feel like a sold-out house.
“It’s a little bit of a rivalry, but you know, we’ll take it over the empty gyms, right?” asked happy Dragons head coach Nick Day after his Fleetwood Park squad eeked out a 52-51 win over the Gators. “Fun game to be part of. Not every one’s going to be an oil painting. We gave away a bit of lead, but we’re pretty young, so it’s nice, win for our guys.”
Rohan Dhanoa and Izaec Oppal each scored 15 points to lead the Dragons, who after building up first quarter and first half leads of 22-7 and 31-15, needed to dig deeper than they had all season to top the Gators and earn a berth in Sunday’s 2 p.m. quarterfinals against a St. Patrick’s team which shares the distinction of not only being the defending champs, but having had to find their way into the draw by way of a play-in victory.
The key for the Dragons?
I think just getting key stops down the stretch, then trying to share the ball when could. When we share the ball we’re effective. When the ball sticks we’re not as effective.”
Armann Gill’s clutch triple made it 49-44 Fleetwood Park with 3:45 left, then a runner in the lane by teammate Karan Sran pushed it to 51-44 with 2:11 left, just enough to hold off the inevitable run the talented Gators had in store.
Joshua Owen-Merriott with 17 points and Kaizer Nystrom with 12 led Walnut Grove.
Fleetwood Park Secondary, like Walnut Grove, is enjoying a superb basketball season.
Not only are the junior boys into the elite 8, the senior girls have already qualified for the big dance, and the senior boys are among the top contenders at the South Fraser championships.
“You know we just feed off each other,” smiled Day. “That’s kind of the culture of our school.”
BURNABY SOUTH 56 TAMANAWIS 44
LANGLEY — They call it their Redemption Season.
Ever since a Grade 8 campaign back in 2018-19 fell well short of their expectations, the Class of 2024 boys basketball team from Burnaby South Secondary has been out to prove a point to both themselves and the rest of the province.
And on Saturday, on a perilous opening day at the B.C. junior boys championships in which all of its survivors had to win back-to-back sudden elimination games in order to remain in title contention, it wasn’t hard to see where these JV Rebels were getting their motivation.
After a 61-33 morning win over Langley’s R.E. Mountain Eagles, Burnaby South’s nightcap was a bit of tougher challenge in the form of Surrey’s Tamanawis Wildcats.
“They came out and were slapping us a little early, but my guys … we have been through this all year long, just trying to grind it out,” Rebels’ head coach Rupi Dahia said after his team rallied from as many as 14 points down, topping the Wildcats 56-44 with an awe-inspiring 26-5 game-closing run.
“It’s been our redemption season, that’s what we call it,” continued Dahia, whose team faces the West Vancouver Highlanders in a 3:30 p.m. quarterfinal clash Sunday on Day 2 of the four-day tournament being staged at the Langley Events Centre.
“In Grade 8, we didn’t have that success we wanted and expected of these guys, and they have been working for last two years to get their respect back. They’re trying to prove that a bunch of small guys can actually compete with the taller teams.”
The Rebels were led by 18 points of Lordrikk Gutierrez, who at 5-foot-9 appears, according to virtually every metric, to be an undersized power forward, yet he plays with a stature that goes beyond the tape measure.
“He is .. I call him the fusion of Charles Barkley and LeBron James,” chuckles Dahia of two distinguished NBAers past and present who each brought nimble athleticism with power and a low centre of gravity, and flourished because of it.
“His footwork is probably the best I have seen for his age group. It’s unreal and that is what gets him all this success. He’s really smart when he’s in there.”
And his spin move is so effective it has transcended the ranks of gimmickry to stand as a part of his bread-and-butter cache.
Also on Saturday, teammates Mahtab Rasode and Roan Mendoza added 13 and 11 points respectively.
Gursewak Mann scored 11 points and Sartaj Bhangu 10 in a losing cause for the Wildcats.
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