LANGLEY — Welcome to the second stage of Saturday’s opening day here at the 2019 B.C. Junior Boys Basketball Championships at the Langley Events Centre.
We’ve already halved the field to 16 teams, so here’s our report on all eight games from the Sweet 16 round.
We will be updating games throughout the day, so feel free to return to this posting multiple times for further reports:
TOP HALF DRAW
2 p.m. — St. Patrick’s vs. Okanagan Mission
3:30 p.m. — Burnaby South vs. Claremont
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
2 p.m. — Yale vs. R.A. McMath
3:30 p.m. — Vancouver College vs. Walnut Grove
B.C. JUNIOR BOYS
(all games at Langley Events Centre)
TOP SIDE DRAW
No. 1 BURNABY SOUTH 78 No. 16 PANORAMA RIDGE 45
LANGLEY — This just in: The Burnaby South Rebels are pretty good.
Mired in a figurative slugfest in which baskets were at a premium, B.C.’s No. 1-ranked, top-seeded team was barely hanging on to a 38-35 lead in the third quarter against Surrey’s Panorama Ridge Thunder.
Then, all heck broke loose.
“We’re a very, very good shooting team and we understand that,” said the Rebels’ head coach Tyus Batiste after Burnaby South turned that three-point lead into a more-than-comfortable victory, closing on a 40-10 run to win 78-45 and maintain their status as the tournament’s team to beat.
“If we get hot, we can hit a lot of shots and we struggled because we were not hitting them, or rebounding,” said Batiste. “Then our big man (6-foot-5 Grade 9 Karn Aujla) got into foul trouble.”
Yet when Aujla came back into the game, the Rebels played off the attention he received, and got into a shooting groove that carried them into Sunday’s quarterfinal round.
Grade 9 guard Jimmy Zaborniak scored 17 of his game co-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, including hitting five treys in the final frame.
Teammate Jareb Pineda scored 25 more, while Conlin Duong added 16.
Talented Thunder guard Vince Ignacio led his team with 15 points while forward Gurtaaj Hans added 12.
Last season, Burnaby South had come into the tournament as the No. 6 seed and the defending B.C. champs but lost to lower-seeded Vernon at the same stage in which they beat Panorama Ridge on Saturday.
Said Batiste of a team which is now sitting with a 31-0 record heading into a 3:30 p.m.quarterfinal clash Sunday against the winner of tonight’s Sir Winston Churchill vs. Claremont game: “They know they don’t want to lose now. What is the point of going undefeated if you’re going to lose now?”
No. 9 CLAREMONT 54 No. 8 SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 48
LANGLEY — Mark Neufeld doesn’t run a typical ship, but it’s one whose morale is in ship-shape heading into the Elite 8 here at the B.C. Junior Boys basketball championships.
Claremont managed to edge Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs on Saturday by a 54-48 count, and afterwards, Spartans head coach Neufeld talked about the line-up his team opened the second half with.
“These guys pull for each other,” began Neufeld. “We started a Grade 9 kid in the second half even though he’s not normally a starter because the guys all told me ‘He’s playing well, let’s let him go in.”
“That’s the kind of team we are,” continued Neufeld who has been coaching the group, including his son Jakob, since the group were all about seven-years-old.
“If we’re not teaching them (empowerment), then I don’t know what we’re teaching them.”
Colby Parker led the winners, coming off a Vancouver Island title, with 18 points.
Ben Manns scored 13, Jakob Neufeld 10 and that ninth grader his teammates wanted to start, Michal Pasek, added another eight points.
Nicholas Chan scored a game-high 23 for Churchill in a drum-tight game that was tied 38-38 heading into the fourth quarter.
Mason Suen added 15 for the ‘Dawgs, with all of his points coming off of five triples.
No. 5 OKANAGAN MISSION 58 No. 12 MEI 49
The stage might be new for Okanagan Mission, yet the Huskies are showing that their recent win over the crosstown rival Kelowna Owls in the Okanagan Valley championship was no fluke.
OKM’s Huskies fought off a late surge from Abbotsford’s MEI Eagles to claim a 58-49 victory here at the B.C.junior boys championships, sending a team peaking at just the right time, into Sunday’s quarterfinal round.
Okanagan Mission is scheduled to face the winner of a 7 p.m. Saturday clash between Vancouver’s St. Pat’s Celtics and the A.R. McNeill Ravens of Richmond.
The best part for the Huskies?
According to head coach Austin Ross, they don’t exactly suffer from stage fright.
“There’s a few guys on this team that have no issues being in front of a crowd and the centre of attention,” smiled Ross of a team that did not qualify for provincials last season. “We had jitters for the first five minutes of the first game, but not the rest of the way.”
Cam Parker and Fabian Reyes Perez scored 12 points apiece to lead the winners, who might have been doing a little bit of sweating when the Eagles crept to within 46-42 down the stretch drive.
Point guard Brandon Nemes scored 10 points while directing the team at both ends of the floor.
It’s clear he is one of those guys who isn’t worried about being at his first rodeo.
“He knows when to take a shot, he knows when to calm us down, and he knows when we need a drive to the hoop,” said Ross. “He not only loves to score, he loves to make sure his teammates are rolling. He’s kind of the straw that stirs the drink.”
Jayden Cousins with a game-high 14 points and Trey Smith with all led MEI.
No. 4 ST. PATRICK’S 58 No. 13 A.R. MACNEILL 42
LANGLEY — They still haven’t arrived in that place all great shooting teams call ‘The Zone’ yet Vancouver’s St. Patrick’s Celtics are still going to wake up Sunday morning one win away from the Final Four here at the 2019 B.C. junior boys basketball championships.
The reason? Defence.
“I think some of the jitters have been there,” said head coach John Boateng on Saturday after his Celts topped Richmond’s A.R. MacNeill Ravens 58-42 in a low-scoring affair.
“We just haven’t shot it how we normally shoot it,” Boateng continued. “But our defence has been there all along, making the difference and getting us extra possessions.”
As seems to always be the case, these Celtics are not blessed with size, but they make up for it in the traditional way.
“We have some kids around six feet that can play inside-out, and some athletic kids that make up for their size,” Boateng continued. “But we also play with a lot of heart and passion. Tonight, (MacNeill) did a terrific job of closing out on our shooters in the first half, but our defence held us in the game, and towards the end, we knocked down some shots and wore them down.”
Daniel Marcelo with 18 points, Joshua Bahena with 14 and Jose Malabanan with 11 hit double-figures for the winners, while Justin Macatangay scored all nine of his points in the second half.
Tanner Devlin led the Ravens with 13 points, while Difu Wang and Everett Swaim each scored 10.
BOTTOM SIDE DRAW
No. 7 WALNUT GROVE 55 No. 10 KELOWNA 50
LANGLEY — Young but not shaken.
At a provincial basketball tournament, with sudden-elimination as a constant on the championship side of the draw, that’s a rare quality to find.
Terry Stead felt coming in that his Walnut Grove Gators had those very qualities, but down the stretch drive of a possession-by-possession battle with a team as good the Kelowna Owls, he got the proof.
“That was a great game, it’s what it’s all about,” the relieved but elated head coach said after his team ground out a 55-50 win over the Owls to move into Sunday’s quarterfinal round.
“I’ve got five Grade 9s on the floor and that is unbelievable,” he continued. “They showed composure. They didn’t crack. They bent but they didn’t break and that is the best way to describe it. I am so proud of them.”
The Owls had climbed to within 51-50 in the dying stages, but the composure Stead talked of? It came in the form of four free throws to put the game away.
And those Grade 9s he spoke of? They were the team’s four leading scorers.
Kevin Kao and Trevor Duffin each scored 13 points for the winners, with Duffin scoring 11 of those in the second half.
Callum Neily added 10 points and Dylan Senft another eight.
Nolan Dergousoff led Kelowna with 12 points, while Nate Beauchemin scored 10.
No. 2 VANCOUVER COLLEGE 75 No. 18 TERRY FOX 61
LANGLEY — Look for a separate filing on this game on Sunday!
No. 6 R.A. MCMATH 57 No. 11 ST. GEORGE’S 56
LANGLEY — Miguel Vargas had no points, he’d just picked up his fourth foul, and then he got an ear full from his head coach.
“But he came back,” R.A. McMath head coach Jon Acob said, choked up by the drama of the moment. “He didn’t let all of that bother him and he just went out, and look what he did.”
Vargas, like the rest of Richmond’s Wildcats, saved their best for last, scoring two key late baskets as part of the day’s most dramatic finish as McMath gutted out a one-point victory on the heels of choking up an 11-0 run to beat the defending B.C. champion St. George’s Saints 57-56.
“We were all in foul trouble, but this team, they know how to play the game and they don’t give up,” a proud Acob said. “We’re small, but we have lots of heart and that’s all we need right now.”
That 11-0 run, capped by six straight points in the paint from forward Luc Dixon seemed to have cooked the Wildcats’ goose.
Yet Michael Kitka hit a dagger three to pull McMath to within a point at 54-53 with 1:45 left.
Eli Van Haren’s layup for Saints pushed the lead back out to three with 1:30 left, but then Vargas went to work.
First, he rose to grab an offensive rebound for a putback to pull McMath within 56-55, then he read a play, jumping high to steal a pass, which he then took down the court and turned into the winning lay-in with 18.8 seconds left.
“This team’s chemistry is unreal,” added Acob. “They don’t care who shoots, they move the ball, and they thrive on defensive pressure.”
Travis Hamberger led the winners with 19 points and Rio Hutchful added 14.
Dixon scored 19 for Saints, while Lawson Graham added 12.
McMath faces the winner of Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. game between Yale and Salmon Arm’s J.L. Jackson in a 2 p.m. quarterfinal Sunday.
No. 3 YALE 56 No. 19 J.L. JACKSON 47
LANGLEY — Jospeh Ho may not have the same kind of game as the Yale Lions’ famed Braich Brothers, Riley and Bradley.
But he’s got enough, that the team’s JV head coach Mike Ivany says, he could well well become the next great Yale player.
On Saturday night, Ho hit six treys and scored a game-high 32 points to lead the Lions to a 56-47 win over Salmon Arm’s hot-shooting J.L. Jackson Golds in the Sweet 16 round here on Day 1 of the B.C. junior boys basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre.
“He was the Fraser Valley MVP, he’s our big-time player and he is our go-to guy,” said Ivany as Ho’s mere presence over the final period seemed to speak to the Lions’ ability to not get worn down by their opposition.
“If we need a bucket, he’s a great three-point shooter,” continued Ivany. “And if you’re crowding him, he can take it to the hoop, get a foul and get a tough finish.”
But Braich like?
“Maybe not quite that shooting level yet, but he is on his way to being the next great Yale player.”
As the tourney’s No. 3 seed, Ivany felt his Lions started flat in a 44-32 win over No. 30 seed STA on Saturday morning.
“I think it was maybe a bit of a hangover from winning the Fraser Valleys,” he said. “Tonight, (J.L. Jackson) hit some tough shots but our guys stayed composed and we had a big second quarter (15-3 run to the half), and then just hung on to win.”
Leyton Boyd led the Golds with 15 points while Brad Martin had 11 and Vaughn McManamna had 10. Ekjot Mann added 10 points for the Lions.
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