Welcome to Day 2 of the B.C. junior boys basketball championships.
We have plenty planned for you today, with stories to follow on the rest of the action later this evening.
We will also have coverage of this evening’s Fraser Valley Quad A senior varsity championships.
LORD TWEEDSMUIR 62 VERNON 57 (OT)
LANGLEY — Basketball is a game of unexpected contingencies.
So much so that you can never quite figure out what magic mix of skill and fortune is going to give you that elusive victory.
On Friday, the day before the start of the 2018 B.C. junior boys championships, Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers were determined to not let their lack of free throw prowess impede their chances of taking home a provincial title.
And so, they got down to business.
“We spent 45 minutes at the end of practice just shooting free throws and at one point, we made 64 of them in a row,” said Tweedy co-coach Chad Olafson. “We wanted to be good at it, but today we thought it might be the thing that gets us in the end.”
Amazingly, it didn’t.
Lord Tweedsmuir missed seven of its last nine free throws in regulation, but the propensity of glue guys in their line-up wound up carrying the day, lifting the Surrey school to a win over Vernon in a quarterfinal Battle of Panthers at the Langley Events Centre.
“We showed good perseverance to win it,” continued Olafson who last season led the Panthers to second place at the B.C. Grade 9 championships. “Vernon battled hard and we knew they would. We told our kids that this had to be a character win.”
Part of dodging defeat, however, came when Vernon’s gutsy point guard Zack Smith drove through traffic for a lay-in and seemed to clearly be fouled.
Smith, who is one of the best free throw shooters around, could well have pulled his team to within 60-59 with just under a minute remaining in overtime.
Instead, Tweedsmuir’s superbly-talented Jackson Corneil drove for a lay-up at the other end of the floor to round out the scoring at 62-57 with 39 seconds remaining.
Vernon trailed 51-44 with 3:30 remaining in regulation, but back-to-back treys from Isaiah Ondrik, the second coming with 7.8 seconds left, had put Vernon ahead 57-56.
Lord Tweedsmuir’s Josh Hamulas hit one of two free throws to tie the game with four seconds left.
Now, it’s a berth in the Final 4, something which eluded last season’s team, one which came into the tournament with the No. 1 overall seed.
Ask Olafson about the vibe, and he confirms that the late surge made by the Drew Gallacher-coached senior varsity team to a berth at the AAAA provincials, has everyone inspired.
“It all trickles down,” said Olafson, who coaches the JV Panthers with Raj Bagry, the program’s guru. “Our seniors started off slow but in the last month, I don’t think there is a team in the province that wants to play them. We’re just trying to carry the torch.
Jason Hans added 14 points in the win, Jaeden Reid 12 and Hamulas 11.
Smith led Vernon with 20 points, Ondrik added 18 and Kevin Morgan 10.
The Panthers will face Belmont in a 4:30 p.m. semifinal on Monday in advance of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. B.C. title tilt.
BELMONT 48 SIR CHARLES TUPPER 38
LANGLEY — A Belmont defence that limited No 2 seed Sir Charles Tupper to just three points in the fourth quarter, proved to be the difference as the Cinderella No. 23 seeds from Victoria continued to cut an epic, underdog swath through the field here at the 2018 B.C. junior boys basketball championships.
Markus Modrivic led the winner with 14 points while Hunter Thomson added 11.
Dennis Laconsay led Tupper with 15 points, while Matt Dunkerley added 10.
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