BURNABY — We’re at St. Thomas More Collegiate this evening for Day 3 of the four-day Chancellor Invitational.
Keep checking back on this posting throughout the evening. We’re down to one more semifinal remaining!
SIR CHARLES TUPPER 79 WEST VANCOUVER 62
As Sir Charles Tupper head coach Jeff Gourley has pointed out on a number of occasions this season, injuries and absences have so often depleted his roster.
And while that roster, has, for the most part, swelled to its healthiest numbers this season, the Tigers have practiced with as few as seven players.
That was noteworthy news on Friday at St. Thomas More because as the No. 2-ranked Triple-A Tigers took down a physical West Vancouver Highlanders squad 79-62 in the Chancellor Invitational semifinals, it was their overall depth and the play of two of their roster’s most constant fixtures, which wound up carrying the day.
Compact senior scoring guard Norben Bulosan has picked up right where he left off in late 2018, this time hitting on six-of-seven long-distance attempts and scoring 27 points, 20 of which came over the first half. As part of that booty, Bulosan also made four steals and dished four assists.
Not to be outdone, versatile forward Simon Crossfield also scored 27 points, the 6-foot-4 forward shooting 5-of-11 from downtown to go along with five assists, five rebounds, six steals and a pair of blocks.
“Simon played much better today and he has been a constant through all of the injuries,” said Goulrey, whose team faces the No. 1-ranked North Delta Huskies in Saturday’s 6 p.m. title tilt. “And Norben has been Mr. Excitement.”
Of course the recent return of starting point guard Gaurab Acharya, the return and rise of guard Lloyd Macinas and the improved play of guard Joven Dhillon has given Tupper the nod as one of a handful of teams looking ready to challenge for the B.C. Triple A title this March.
Dhillon scored six points Friday while Matt Dunkerley, the 6-foot-6 post, added nine.
A 24-6 run between the first and second quarters put the Tigers ahead 35-12. Yet although they were able to build their lead to 64-32 at one stage, plucky West Vancouver just kept coming.
The Highlanders, led by the 23 points of Parsa Zadeh and 14 more form Marcus Dunn, closed the game on a 30-15 run of their own.
Now, the Tigers have to figure out a way to stop a North Delta team which beat them 99-90 in their last matchup, back in mid-December.
“They shot 71 per cent from the field and 58 per cent from three,” remembers Gourley of the Huskies. “It was insane, and we only lost by nine.”
The answer to stop or at least slow the Huskies and their superstar Suraj Gahir?
“Do we throw junk defence at them,” Gourley wondered. “Or do we hunker down and go man-to-man and rebound, figuring he might miss a couple?”
NORTH DELTA 71 BYRNE CREEK 63
Fifty-two weeks ago, on this very Friday in January, the North Delta Huskies were an up-and-coming team with visions of a berth in the 2018 Chancellor championship final.
Fast forward one year, and the only thing in common was the name of their foe.
No. 1 North Delta, a 75-55 loser to Burnaby’s Byrne Creek Bulldogs a season ago in the Chancellor semifinals, exorcised the memory of that defeat in impressive fashion, with Suraj Gahir’s game-high 38 points not only carrying them to A 71-63 victory, but sending them to Saturday’s championship final.
Yet it was game in which North Delta was faced with its share of adversity, especially when Byrne Creek star Bithow Wan drilled a third quarter-ending buzzer-beater to put the Bulldogs ahead 50-46.
At that point, momentum and emotion seemed to be on the side of the Burnaby school, whose excited fans looked as if they were ready to storm the court.
“But mental toughness is a big thing that we have been working on with these guys,” said North Delta head coach Jesse Hundal. “We just had them refocus and they came back (for the fourth quarter) mentally dialled in. It was another small step for our program.”
In fact when Gahir put back his own miss about two minutes into the fourth quarter, North Delta had gone on a 12-0 run to open the final frame and led 58-50.
And while Gahir’s offensive game just keeps on getting better and more unstoppable with each passing day, Friday’s pivotal fourth quarter was impressive because six different Huskies scored in the final frame, and Gahir didn’t have to do it all by himself.
“I like to see that because if you look at it, if I m scoring they can all focus on me,” said Gahir, who only scored eight points in the fourth. “But if we have five guys scoring, we’re really hard to guard.”
Point guard Arun Atker had 15 on the night, Sagar Ranouta had seven, Jag Johal added five, Bhav Thiara four and Ryan Cabico two.
“We’re just a bunch of dogs out there,” Gahir continued. “We have 13 guys that want to play. They’re working. They all want to score. Our big guy (Vik Hayer) is out right now but we’re not making any excuses. We just all come to play and that is what got us the W.”
Wan led Byrne Creek with 27 points.
Mukhtar Afadish added 16 points, Bobby Mabeny eight points and Sufi Ahmed seven.
The Huskies will tip-off in Saturday’s final against the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between Sir Charles Tupper and West Vancouver.
DUCHESS PARK 92 FLEETWOOD PARK 83
If you watched Soren Erricson on Thursday, it’s pretty clear that the senior captain of Prince George’s Duchess Park Condors can put a nightmare behind him in a hurry.
Erricson is a 6-foot-2 guard who suffered a concussion at the start of the current season and only returned to action about a week before the start of the Chancellor Invitational.
Yet after he dropped a game-high 31 points on Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Dragons on Friday, it looked like he’d never been away.
Whether showcasing his explosive first step to the basket, or feathering home the three-point shot, Erricson, who scored 21 points over the second half, is about as big a late-season addition as any team in the B.C. Triple A ranks could hope to have.
“It’s been pretty tough watching the guys play, but I tried my best to support them from the sidelines,” Erricson said. “It was a long journey being out almost two months, but we’re finally getting the ball rolling.”
It took four quarters for the Condors to finally wear down the Quad-A Dragons.
Dan Zimmerman added 18 points, Isaac Northrop 14 and Jackson Kuc another 11.
Fleetwood Park’s Grade 11 star Amrit Bassi scored a team-high 26 points in the loss, while Rav Randhawa added 15 and Bhavrup Gosal 10.
“Soren is one of the best leaders I have ever coached,” said Duchess Park head coach Jordan Yu. “He’s a team-guy first and he does whatever it takes for his team to win. He is super athletic laterally, and his first step is as quick as some of the best in the province.”
Yu mentioned that Duchess Park has still not had its full roster together for any tournament this season.
Perhaps that will happen if the team qualifies for the B.C. AAA tournament this March at the LEC.
RICK HANSEN 62 ST. THOMAS MORE 51
Gurkaran Mangat’s game-high 29 points were an offensive oasis in a defensive desert Friday for Abbotsford’s No. 9-ranked Rick Hansen Hurricanes.
Matched against the smaller but gritty host Knights, the ‘Canes rode the 6-foot-3 forward’s output to victory following its heartbreaking quarterfinal loss the night before against Burnaby’s Byrne Creek Bulldogs.
“I love the way they battle,” said Hansen head coach Steve Twele of St. Thomas More, which got within double-digits down the stretch drive but found buckets at a premium. “They were under-sized against us, but they out-rebounded us in the first half.”
Monty Gill, the Canes’ bruising 6-foot-4 senior post, added 13 points.
For the Knights, all three of its leading scorers were Grade 11s.
Dante Di Girolamo scored 12 points, Gabe Nacario eight points, and George Wang seven.
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