LANGLEY — We’ve got our first live game reports of the day here from the 53rd annual B.C. junior boys basketball championships at the LEC.
Please continue to check back through the evening for updates! We’ve also got a full scoreboard for today’s opening round games a the field attempts to pare down from 32 to eight teams by the end of tonight ahead of the Sunday quarterfinals.
ROUND OF 16
TOP HALF DRAW
No. 1 TAMANAWIS 46 No. 17 BURNABY MOUNTAIN 33
LANGLEY — Consider it the tournament’s upset special averted.
The Burnaby Mountain Lions put together the three-quarter stretch of their season on Saturday in the second round of the B.C. junior boys championships.
So much so that the No. 17 seeds, behind a free throw with a 10th of a second remaining in the third quarter by Parker Antonovs, carried a 33-32 lead into the fourth quarter against the No. 1-seeded Tamanawis Wildcats of Surrey.
From that point forward, the Lions continued to play championship-level defence, yet for some reason the basketball gods simply refused to acknowledge their offence.
Tamanawis shut out Burnaby Mountain over the entire fourth quarter while scoring 14 points themselves, avoiding the upset and advacing to Sunday’s quarterfinal round.
“Honestly they are very patient, they waited until end of shot clock and got good shots,” admitted Tamanawis head coach Aurel David of the Lions. “Luckily some bounces went our way in the end.”
It was a little more than that.
Led by the talented 6-foot-4 guard Tray Belanger, the Wildcats showed they could grind out a victory in what David called their lowest scoring game of the season.
Belanger scored 23 points, which in a low scoring game like Saturday’s, was more like 40-plus.
Jemuel Castro of the Lions led his team with 13 points.
There were no other double-digit scorers in the game, although Tamanwis guard Sunny Dhami had nine.
“I felt like our team was doing the right things,” said David, himself a former Tamanawis player. “The ball just wasn’t going through the hoop. I am honestly proud of how we played.”
No. 8 ST. PATRICK’S No. 24 YALE
LANGLEY — The Yale Lions might find a lot to talk about with the Burnaby Mountain Lions this offseason.
The Lions took a lead into the fourth quarter against the No. 1 seeded Tamanawis Wildcats but were held pointless in the fourth quarter en route to a 13-point loss.
Their Burnaby namesakes found themselves facing similar plotlines Saturday against the No. 8 St. Patrick’s Celtics.
Yale led 53-47 heading into the fourth quarter but were held to one made field goal and four total points as they fell 63-57.
Jakobi Matalabos led the winners with 17 points, while Riley Santa Juana added 16 and Danny Geppert a further 15.
Joseph Thoutenhoofd and Will Chae each scored 15 points for Yale.
The Celtics will advance to face the Tamanawis in a 12:30 p.m. quarterfinal on Sunday.
No. 4 SULLIVAN HEIGHTS 78 No. 13 LAMBRICK PARK 49
LANGLEY — They are history in the making at their Surrey high school.
The Sullivan Heights Stars, the No. 4 seeds here at the 2023 B.C. junior boys basketball championships, are their school’s only boys team to ever make a B.C. championship tournament .
Now, one season after losing in the Final Four en route to a third-place finish at the 2022 Grade 9 provincials, the Stars are proving last season was no fluke.
Navin Sidhu scoreed a game-high 23 points and Nick Baxter added 20 more as Sullivan Heights won its second straight game on a gruelling Saturday here in Langley, topping the No. 13 Lambrick Park Lions of Victoria 78-49.
The win propels the Stars into Sunday’s B.C. quarterfinals where they will face Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Kodiaks, the same team which beat them in last season’s provincial semifinals.
On Saturday night, the Stars were never allowed to shine early against a physical and determined Lions squad.
Leading 40-25 after hitting seven fiurst-half treys, the Stars looked in control of their own destiny.
However Lambrick Park went on an 18-4 run to pull within a point at 44-43.
It was what happened next… Sullivan Height’s response to that run, which ultimately carried the day.
“I love it when we get tested like that .. it’s good for these guys, and I like how we responded,” said head coach Tyler Ram, whose team pulled out a 16-2 run of its own after the Lions had pulled to within a point at 44-43.
“I feel like we’re the best when we feel those kinds of pressures and we respond,” Ram continued. “That is the kind of team we have been all season. We see adversity and we respond and I am happy about it.”
Solomon Anderson, Preston Anderson and Dylan Young all scored 11 points apiece in the loss for Lambrick Park.
No. 5 WESTSYDE No. 23 HERITAGE WOODS
LANGLEY — Trailing 20-10 in the biggest game of their season, the Heritage Woods Kodiaks were facing one of the top-seeded teams in the province in Kamloops’ No. 5 Westsyde Whundas and unsure if they had the answer which would allow them to advance to Sunday’s B.C. junior boys quarterifnals.
Turns out, all it took to reverse the tide was time-out by Kodiaks’ head coach Roj Johal.
“I just told them ‘Hey, we have been in these positions before and we have always come back,” said a relieved Johal following her No, 12-seed team’s gritty 68-59 win. “I think the one great thing about this team is that they never give up.”
After that 20-10 deficit, the Kodiaks’ immediate response was a a 17-2 run for a 27-22 lead. They led 37-31 at the half.
Afu Bullock led the winners with 25 points, while Joseph Thompson added 22 more.
Westsyde got 21 points from Cason Scott, 13 from Kooper Groeneveld and 10 from Logan Rubel.
As Johal delighted in the win ahead of Sunday’s 11 a.m. rematch with Sullivan Heights, she also couldn’t help but talk about the pride at her school.
“Five of our six teams made the B.C.’s this year,” she said of the senior boys and girls, junior boys and girls and Grade 9 girls. “It’s a great energy and I think all of the kids really supportive of each other. They were all texting each other when the Heritage boys got in (Friday night) and it’s really nice energy when you have that and they feed off each other.”
No. 18 ELGIN PARK 68 No. 2 VANCOUVER COLLEGE 65
LANGLEY — There is something charmingly old-school about the approach that Surrey’s Elgin Park Orcas pack with them every time they take to the court.
And despite the altitude of the moment they found themselves in Saturday evening at the Langley Events Centre, it’s pretty clear that not a lot of stuff is capable of disrupting their basketball equilibrium
How else to explain all the ways that the No. 17-seeded Orcas, the fourth-place finisher in their own South Fraser zone, rallied from what looked to be a fatal start to stun the No. 2-seeded and defending champion Vancouver College Fighting Irish here in the Sweet 16 round of the 53rd annual B.C. junior boys basketball championships.
“We went down 19-4 to start this game, so I am really proud of the guys for battling back,” said Elgin Park head coach Joshua Weiss. “The way we won this game was our rebounding and our tough defence.”
As one learned hoops sage commented courtside during the game “They do all the little things, getting hands in passing lanes, deflecting balls…”
Pretty basic stuff that is not easy to do consistently, yet ask Weiss about that, and his repsonse is delivered by one who believes passionately in the fundamentals.
“It’s hands up on defence,” he begins. “I liken it to a metaphor about trees because it’s hard to throw a ball through a bunch of tress. You can throw it over the Prairies, but you can’t throw it through the trees.”
It’s a basic that took possessions away from the Fighting Irish on Saturday.
And so was both their intermediate-range shooting game, and their ability to penetrate for points in the paint.
Trailing 34-33 at the half, the Orcas used a big run of their own in the third quarter, ripping through a 14-0 spree to take a 50-37 lead, it’s largest of the game.
Yet one night after the Kings beat the Clippers 176-175 in double OT in a game with a combined 44 three-pointers sunk, the Orcas hit three the entire way Saturday, including exactly none after the opening quarter of play.
Down the stretch drive, the Irish made a furious rally and Marco Mayuga’s three-pointer with 13.6 seconds left had brought Vancouver College to within 66-65.
Yet an unsportsmanlike foul called against VC, then later two ice-veined free throws by Elijah Weiss, the 6-foot-4 guard and one half of the the head coach’s twin son combo, with 4.2 seconds left, made the final score complete.
How did they prepare themselves to win a game as big as that?
“We have a tough division in Surrey with Tamanawis and Sullivan Heights,” he continued of the same two chief geographic foes who also survived two rounds of sudden-elimination on Saturday as the field’s respective No. 1 and No. 4 seeds. “We’ve been able to run close with those teams and that is character building. Our two best games this season were losses against those teams. We didn’t know much about what Vancouver College was going to bring but it was relentless defence that won this game.”
Elijah Weiss scored a game-high 24 points in the win, while the 6-foot-3 Jacob Nicol, a fearless penetrator with a crash and bang mentality, added another 16, showcasing along the way his ability to sink tough-angle shots in the crowded paint.
Noah Weiss added another 11 points while Mateus Fealing scored 10.
For Vancouver College, Gianluca Tognetti scored 20 points while Nate Chen added 16 and Andres Garcia supplied a further 14.
No. 7 BROOKSWOOD 53 No. 10 HANDSWORTH 40
LANGLEY — Last season, the Brookswood Bobcats advanced to the B.C. junior quarterfinals with a pair of opening-day wins fuelled by pure adrenaline.
On Saturday, a full year later, it was a much more seasoned and mature ‘Cats squad whch mamaged to turn the same trick and that is the kind of growth head coach Kelsey Stewart is hoping pays dividends in the team’s 2 p.m. quarterfinals clash Sunday with Surrey’s Elgin Park Orcas.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to keep it going,” Stewart said after Brookswood topped Noerth Vancouver’s Handsworth Royals 53-40, capping off a two-game day in which it shot the three-pointer with stunning consistency.
First came its 14 made triples in a 72-55 win over Oak Bay.
Then in the night cap, 10 more treys, the combined 24 coming in 32-minute games in gyms with vastly different sightlines.
Stewart puts it all down to the feeling of confidence which runs through his team’s roster.
“We’re unselish,” he said of the team’s mantra, one which comes from the very top of its player leadership group, “and that helps breed success because everyone knows there is a confidence being shown that they can make plays.”
Againt the Royals, Logan Stewart, the team’s 6-foot-4 stalwart, led the way with 22 points, while Jovan Lazowchuk added 15 and Jayden Kenyon other 14.
Lozowhuk hit 10 combined threes on the day and Kenyon eight.
Liam Hadrill led Handsworth with 19 points while Dara Shokouhian scored nine.
A FRASER NORTH CLASH FOR THE FINAL FOUR
It will be Fraser North champ Burnaby South locking horns with the runners-up from St. Thomas More Collegiate on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. after the two Burnaby schools wrapped up a marathon opening day.
No. 3 BURNABY NORTH 71 No. 19 DOVER BAY 57
LANGLEY — They may not have come to the LEC as the overwhelming favourites to win the B.C. junuir title, like they have many times in years past.
Yet maybe the Burnaby South Rebels are OK with all of that.
After Vancouver College’s surprising Day 1 exit, the Rebels are now the secopnd-highest seed remaining behind Surrey’s Tamanawis Wildcats following a 14-point win over Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Dolphins.
Forward Llorikk Gutierrez led the winners with 17 points while the pair of 6-foot-5 centre Keoni Sacco and 6-foot-3 guard Tyler Crossley each added 14 points.
Lukas Martinez added 10 for the winners as the Rebels jumped out to a 26-9 lead after the first quarter.
Van Suiter led the Dolphins with 16 points, Tyler McWhinnie scored 15, and Joe Linder a further 13.
No. 11 ST. THOMAS MORE 57 No. 6 RICK HANSEN 52
LANGLEY — The Knights limited Abbotsford’s Eastern Valley champion Hurricanes to just six points and but a single field goal in the second quarrter of play en route to the upset win.
Forwards Zeru Abera with a game-high 19 points and Jacob Oreta with 16, led STM, whilke guard Shane Deza scored 14 more.
After its six-point outing in the second quarter, the ‘Canes exploded for 25 in the third quarter as Harjap Thind drained four of his five second-half treys in the frame en route to a 15 point outing.
Gurtej Dhillon added 13 and Pratham Bhogal 11 more.
ROUND OF 32
TOP HALF DRAW
Tamanawis 70 R.E. Mountain 45
Magee vs. Burnaby Mountain 71 Magee 45
St. Pat’s 75 Rutland 44
Yale 54 SMUS 36
Sullivan Heights 76 Lord Byng 38
Lambrick Park 67 Summerland 57
Westsyde 72 Correlieu 39
Heritage Woods 68 Windsor 26
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
Vancouver College 80 LV Rogers 38
Elgin Park 62 Vernon 50
Brookswood 72 Oak Bay 55
Handsworth 71 Centennial 40
Burnaby South 63 Abbotsford 40
Dover Bay 59 Pacific Academy 47
Rick Hansen 87 Smithers 41
St. Thomas More 67 Semiahmoo 47