The B.C. junior boys invitational championships represent the largest and most unpredictable field of teams in any B.C. high school sports championships.
Thirty-two teams had a chance at the title at 8:30 a.m., yet by 10 p.m. tonight, only eight will be in the running.
With 24 single-elimination games being played today, it’s impossible to go game-by-game with any depth, and focus will be paid in another posting to the eight Sweet 16 round games which begin at 4 p.m.
Please check back on this posting for round one games through the mid-evening. We will try to have a full report on second-round games later tonight.
To give you a flavour of round one contests, we will take a look at a victory by PoCo’s Terry Fox Ravens over Vancouver Island champion G.P. Vanier of Courtenay.
All other round one games will follow below, and by quadrants.
TERRY FOX 55 G.P. VANIER 22
LANGLEY — To give you an idea of how unpredictable the B.C. junior varsity basketball world is, consider that PoCo’s Terry Fox Ravens, who got into the provincial draw as a wildcard entry, had earlier this season beaten the 32-team field’s No. 1 seed, the Vancouver College Fighting Irish.
Said Ravens coach Rich Chambers, a veteran skipper, when asked if he’s had to coach by the seat of his pants this season: “Almost every time. Every game we’ve played this year, I have no idea which team will show up. At junior you have no idea. It’s night-and-day (from senior varsity). I have no idea what to expect. We could be horrible or we could be great.”
File Saturday’s opener by the Ravens under ‘great’.
Again a tall and physical Vancouver Island champion, the Ravens bolted out to a 22-4 lead in the early stages of the second quarter and had no reason to look back.
Grade 10 6-foot-7 post Liam Espendido scored a game-high 14 points in the 32-minute affair.
Grade 9 guard Cam Slaymaker scored all of his 13 points in the first half.
Matt Lew Hendrickson came off the bench to score 12 for the winners.
Peter Greaves, the Towhees’ 6-foot-6 forward, scored six points to lead his team.
“We have a bunch of Grade 9s on this team and the Fraser Valley was so stacked this year that we’re happy to get the wildcard,” added Chambers, who coaches the team with two other veterans in Don Van Os and Bill Bryan.
Terry Fox came into the game after having lost three straight nail-biters to Abbotsford, Fleetwood Park and Guildford Park.
One night after its senior varsity won the Lower Mainland AAAA title, the junior tourney’s No. 1 seed lived up to its ranking.
Vancouver College’s Fighting Irish topped Langley’s R.E. Mountain Eagles 71-40, setting up a date with Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Dragons.
Fleetwood Park beat Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie Bears 53-35.
On the other side of the quadrant, Fraser Valley No. 2 Seaquam Seahawks topped Richmond’s R.E. McNeill Ravens 48-32.
The Seahawks will meet the No. 28 seed Terry Fox Ravens after the PoCo wildcard entrant topped Vancouver Island champion and No. 9 seed G.P. Vanier Towhees of Courtenay 58-22.
Handsworth of North Vancouver will face Vancouver’s John Oliver, while last season’s Final 4 finalist St. George’s Saints will clash with the Abbotsford Panthers.
Handsworth’s Royals topped Langley’s Brookswood Bobcats 66-49, while Vancouver’s Jokers beat Dawson Creek 54-41.
On the other side of the quadrant, No. 5 seed St. George’s edged the No. 28 seed Lord Byng Grey Ghosts of Vancouver 54-50, while Abbotsford beat Victoria’s Claremont Spartans 50-42.
BOTTOM SIDE DRAW
Last season’s provincial runners up and the top-seed on the bottom half of the draw have taken their first step.
Vancouver’s Sir Charles Tupper Tigers opened with a 68-36 win over crosstown St. Patrick’s.
The No. 2 Tigers will face Burnaby Mountain in a 4 p.m. game after the Lions beat Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Kodiaks 53-41. Heritage Woods was a last-minute replacement for Prince Rupert’s Charles Hays Rainmakers who were unable to attend due to flight problems incurred because of the weather.
Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir, last season’s No. 1 seed and this year’s No. 3, toppled Westsyde of Kamloops 63-44, and they will face Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies, 62-23 winners over Victoria’s Oak Bay Bays. The Grizz came into that game as No. 19 seeds while Oak Bay, the Vancouver Island runner-up, was a No 14.
As well, No. 6 seed and defending B.C. champion Burnaby South was a 64-42 winner over Prince George’s Duchess Park Condors.
The Rebels will face Vernon in the next round after the Panthers topped Surrey’s Guildford Park Sabres 52-36.
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