That’s a wrap on Day 2 of the 2021 Tsumura Basketball Invitational.
We’ve got reports and photos from all eight games below, but first, here’s a look at Friday morning quarterfinals, all at Centre Court:
TOP HALF DRAW
12:15 p.m. — Burnaby South vs. Claremont
1:45 p.m. — Sir Winston Churchill vs. Abbotsford
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
10:30 a.m. — Fleetwood Park vs. A.R. MacNeill
9 a.m. — St. Thomas More vs. King George
(Top-half winners semifinal 8:15 p.m., bottom-half winners semi-final 6:45 p.m.)
TOP HALF DRAW
BURNABY SOUTH 82 BYRNE CREEK 41
LANGLEY — The Battle of Burnaby brings a little bit of everything to the basketball court any time the Burnaby South Rebels happen to clash with the Byrne Creek Bulldogs.
The latest chapter unfold Thursday in the Sweet 16 round here at the TBI 2021, and with crazy hoops karma in the air, the first quarter ended with the Rebels leading the Bulldogs by the miniscule score of 6-2.
“But that’s a Byrne Creek-Burnaby South game,” said Rebels’ head coach Mike Bell, whose No. 1-ranked AAAA team continued to remain unbeaten on the young season following an 82-41 win.
“It’s the energy, and we are tough to play against when it’s each other,” he added. “The nerves got to both teams but once we brought our energy and played the way we can, we kind of took care of the rest of the game.”
That was indeed the case as Burnaby South put together a 21-5 run in the third quarter, pushing the score from 55-29 to 76-34.
If you remember the Rebels’ impressive 2020 run to the B.C. title just days before COVID’s official arrival, then you remember forward Karan Aujla and guard Jimmy Zaborniak.
Both are back as foundational seniors, but there is a whole lot more in the rotation, and it makes you wonder, ultimately, just where this Burnaby South teams will stand when placed against all that has shone so brightly over the past decade.
Zaborniak and Aujla led the winners with 17 points each, while fellow senior guard Zach Chan scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Richard Moses led the Bulldogs with 11 points while Mamadee Jawara added 10.
CLAREMONT 65 CENTENNIAL 62
LANGLEY — Izzy Helman admitted it wasn’t really anything they drew up in a time-out or were saving for a big moment.
Claremont’s senior guard, facing the Centennial Centaurs’ zone defence, curled off a screen and spotted teammate Arjun Samra for a shot from three-point range.
Samra stepped up and knocked down the shot with 1.8 seconds remaining, snapping a 62-62 tie in most dramatic fashion and lifting Victoria’s Spartans to a dramatic Sweet 16 victory Thursday night and a berth in a 12:15 p.m. quarterfinal today against the tournament favourites from Burnaby South as TBI hits Day 3 on Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
“This time of the year it’s nice to get a competitive game like that, to play in those stressful moments. and we’ve got a lot of young guys… a lot of Grade 11s, so it was vital for us.”
And while their effort came up just shy, the Centaurs truly announced the arrival of its 6-foot-10 centre KC Ibekwe, looking lithe and nimble, but still every bit as powerful as he needs to be in the paint.
“That was a tough match up for us because he is such a body down there,” Dunlop said of Ibekwe who scored a game-high 29 points, including a huge lay-in off a lob from teammate Nick Yang with 1:42 remaining that put Centennial ahead 62-61. “We can’t stop him with one guy. It has to be multiple guys.”
Helman made one of two free throw to tie it, setting the stage for Sangha’s big trey.
“We are preparing for March, playing against as many good teams as we can,” said Ibekwe. “Just getting back to playing feels good after last season. It’s good just to have everyone in B.c. watching games again… and being happy.”
Helman and Sangha led the Spartans with 13 points while Yang added 12 and Matthew Lee nine for Centennial.
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 63 TAMANAWIS 38
LANGLEY — Sir Winston Churchill’s Bulldogs sunk their teeth in on defence Thursday as the Tsumura Basketball Invitational’s round of Sweet 16 opened.
As part of a 63-38 win over Surrey’s Tamanawis Wildcats, the Bulldogs limited their foes to just 17 points over the entire second half, including just seven points in the fourth quarter.
Underclassmen helped carry the offence, as Grade 11 guard Jackson Bryson scored a game-high 18 points, while Grade 10 guard Luka Subotic added 15 points.
Senior holdovers Ethan Baron and Milan John, who two seasons ago lost to St. Pat’s in the B.C. junior final, added 15 and nine points respectively to the winning cause.
Tamanawis, which beat Sands on Wednesday to punch their tickets to group of 16 Thursday, was led by the 17 points of Harjap Samra.
ABBOTSFORD 87 DUCHESS PARK 68
LANGLEY — Brent Ciochetti admitted to experiencing a little hoops deja vu on Thursday.
“It was funny walking into the gym today,” the head coach of the Abbotsford Panthers said following his team’s figurative 15-round victory against Prince George’s Duchess Park Condors.
“The last time I coached here was we left here as juniors (at the 2020 B.C. JV championships),” he continued. “It’s nice coming back with these seniors. They are a great group of kids.”
Of course those very seniors were his Grade 10s back at the tail-end of the 2019-20 campaign.
Needless to say, Jahvon Maksymiw (11points), Lockhart MacGregor (13 points) and Ciochetti’s son Wyatt Ciochetti (15 points), have matured into a formidable unit as seniors.
On Thursday, the trio combined for 39 of the Panthers’ points, with Grade 11s Hayden Sansalone and Dilveer Randhawa also figuring prominently in a win over a Condors team which just kept coming back for more.
“We went on a nice run in the third with some threes,” said coach Ciochetti. “I think we hit 12 on the game.”
The biggest run of triples came when Wyatt Ciochetti hit three straight in the third quarter as part of what looked like a game-defining run.
“That gave us some separation,” the coach added of what was a 17-9 run that had put the Panthers on top 79-65. “But they Duchess kept fighting and grinding. I thought we had put them away with that stretch but they just kept coming.”
Evgeny Baukin with 19, Aidan Lewis with 18, Cole Laing with 16 and Adam Sieben with 13 led the Condors.
Abbotsford will face Sir Winston Churchill in a 1:45 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday.
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
FLEETWOOD PARK 86 LORD TWEEDSMUIR 81 (2OT)
LANGLEY — It was unspoken but understood, and when it comes to basketball language, not a lot has to be said when two Surrey rivals come face to face in overtime.
That was the scene Thursday as the Fleetwood Park Dragons and Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers squared off in the Sweet 16 round of the Tsumura Basketball Invitational.
“The guys just played it straight up, man-to-man, both teams decided that and all that was left was just to see who wanted it more,” Dragons’ head coach Jordan Taylor explained of how the pivotal second OT session unfolded, the one that was forced when Fleetwood Park’s Gurman Ghuman nailed a three at the buzzer.
“At that point, our guys were just excited to play,” added Taylor, “and they just came together at the same moment. That was the turning point. They all said they were gonna play and whatever happens happens, and good things happened when they decided that. I am so proud of them all.”
Allen Landasan, the 5-foot-10 senior guard, played the game of his life, not only pouring home a game-high 35 points, but scoring 19 of those points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“It came down to tough defence and they have some great players,” Taylor said of the Panthers who were led by the 20 points of Shane Mander and the 19 of Munroop Gill. “They were constantly beating us off the bounce and putting us in tough spots, but we just decided we had to keep them in front, and just make them live-and-die by their jump shots. And Allen was unreal. He made every free throw. And (forward) Eisher (Sarai) made all of those big free throws. He iced it when he made the last two nice and smooth.”
Sarai finished with 16 points while Liam Penados and Isaiah Young each scored 13. Nayan Narendran scored 13 for the Panthers.
“It’s perfect to get a game like this early,” added Taylor. “We always say we want to peak at the right time, and we’re trending in the right direction for sure. And getting Tweedsmuir now, knowing its a back-yard game for the boys, we knew that it was going to be a battle the whole way.”
A.R. MACNEILL 84 WALNUT GROVE 71
LANGLEY — Justin Dy-Pe described it as a figurative case of hoop hunger pangs.
And in the case of his A.R. MacNeill Ravens, it all manifested itself in the form of a 22-8 run to the begin the second half Thursday as the TBI’s round of Sweet 16 opened here at the Langley Events Centre against the hometown Walnut Grove Gators.
Rolling on all cylinders behind the guard duo of Marco Esteban and Cam Pacheco, and 6-foot-4 forward Everett Swaim, the Ravens created a wave of momentum that the Gators could not overcome en route to a 84-71 win.
“The boys were hungry and it’s it has been a long time coming for them, but they stayed hungry all through the frustration of not being able to play games,” said head coach Dy-Pe. “Really, we are all just so happy to be back.”
Swaim with a game-high 22 points, along with 16 from Pacheco and 15 from Esteban led the winning charge.
Walnut Grove got 19 points from Daniel Ahn and 13 more from Trevor Duffin.
“We just know who we are as a team,” Dy-Pe said when asked what keyed the second half surge. “We’re a team that will fight no matter what is on the scoreboard. We’re small, we’re under-sized and we know it, but these guys’ hearts are so big.”
The Ravens advance to face the winner of Thursday’s contest between Lord Tweedsmuir and Fleetwood Park in Friday’s 10:30 a.m. quarterfinal.
ST. THOMAS MORE 78 YALE 68
LANGLEY — The St. Thomas More Knights were asked to join the Tsumura Basketball Invitational in the 11th hour of the 11th hour.
Yet despite joining the 20-team field as a last-second replacement for the Kelowna Owls, then placed in Wednesday’s eight-team opening round, Burnaby’s Knights are proving to be an extremely tough out.
Grade 11 guard Timmy Gonzales poured home a game-high 26 points, and STM opened the second half on an 18- 4 run en route to a 78-68 Sweet 16 win over Abbotsford’s Yale Bulldogs.
“We’re just trying to learn and grow right now,” admitted STM head coach Aaron Mitchell after the win. “We’re in teaching phase right now.
“At halftime (Yale) was falling back to a 2-3 (zone defence) and we just said to ourselves ‘Hey if we’re going to go down, let’s just go ‘everybody in and out’ and you saw it. Five (players) in, five out, play until you’re tired. We’re getting there and we’re still super young.”
Tarrance Booker, the STM point guard, added 15 points in the win, including going 6-for-6 down the stretch drive of the fourth quarter.
Forward Chris Ainsley added nine for the winners who trailed 36-31 at the half.
Reid Loewen led the Lions with 22 points. Dex Carnahan scored all of his 12 points in the fourth quarter.
St. Thomas More will face King George in a 9 a.m. quarterfinal on Friday.
“They are going to play a 2-3 (zone), they’ve got good guards, and they play hard.. they play the right way no matter what time of day it is,” said Mitchell. “It’ll be another good test for us.”
KING GEORGE 83 vs. R.A. MCMATH 46
LANGLEY — Darko Kulic boiled his team’s start Thursday in the Sweet 16 round of the 2021 TBI to a few simple words.
“The boys were just so eager and excited to show our growth as the little Double-A team that could,” Kulic said, referring to the start his King George Dragons got off to en route to a convincing 83-46 win over Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats.
The Dragons’ guard trio of Jose Zulago (30 points), Palmer Currie (20 points) and point guard Max Astak (10) was superb throughout while forward Adam Spano added 16 more.
Zulaga scored 14 of those 30 points in that third quarter.
Guard Elliott Seidel led the Wildcats with 16 points while centre Kyle Christofferson added 10.
The Dragons led 28-10 after the first quarter and 43-24 at the half.
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