Juan Navarro of Brentwood College looks to enter the ball during opening round win over Clarence Fulton. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

FINAL EDITION Double-A boys Day 1: Varsity Letters gives you live game day reports and photos of all eight opening-round games!

LANGLEY — Welcome to the opening day of play here at the 2020 B.C. senior boys basketball championships.

Please continue to check back on this posting throughout the day for updates as we wind our way through the eight-game sudden elimination Sweet 16 bracket.





Samuel Robertson’s Anthony Kantinic does his best to block the shot of Charles Hays’ Kai Leighton (10) during the final B.C. Double A opening-round game staged Wednesday at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Gary Kingston (special to Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — It took a half, but the talented and deep Charles Hays Rainmakers finally showed late Wednesday why they’re the No. 1 seed in their bid to repeat as B.C. senior boys Double A basketball champions.

The Rainmakers led just 31-20 at the half against the No. 16 seed Samuel Robertson Technical Titans after a sloppy, mistake-prone first 20 minutes at the Langley Events Centre. Part of the reason for that was that point guard Tyler Jones, he of the blistering pace, spent a good chunk of time on the bench with three fouls.

But Charles Hays started to get its offence straightened out in the third, then put their dangerous fast break game into full gear in the fourth to secure a 71-42 win.

“We played a little tentative early,” said head coach Mel Bishop. “It’s a long day (to wait for the 830p tipoff) and the double overtime game before us, we had to wait and wait. Your rhythm gets messed up a little bit. But defensively we were all right.”

The Rainmakers limited the Titans to just 25 per cent shooting and forced an astounding 31 turnovers.

Jones, who finished with 22 points, was spectacular out on the break, particularly in the fourth quarter when he simply outraced the Titans down the court for several uncontested lay-ins.

“He got some easy hoops,” said Bishop. “And Kai Leighton, our big guy, was strong on the boards.”

Leighton pulled down 17 rebounds to help key the fast break and chipped in offensively with 13 points.

Lucas Hutchinson led the Titans with 16 points.

Jones said the Rainmakers and their Grade 12 heavy lineup are keen to make it two titles in a row, but aren’t taking anything for granted.

“Just because we’re No. 1 (seed) again, we don’t take anyone easy. We always play every game like (the opponent) is the No. 2 ranked team. We just have to come out every game as hard as we can.”


Ryan Black (right) of the St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints operates in the half-court against Nolan Tredrea of Penticton’s Princess Margaret Mustangs during B.C. 2A Round one action Wednesday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Gary Kingston (special to Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — The B.C. senior boys basketball tournament can often be about unsung heroes, the lightly regarded role player stepping into the spotlight to turn a game in his team’s favor.

That hero Wednesday night was Michael O’Flynn, St. Thomas Aquinas Saints lone Grade 12, a six-foot-one guard/forward who hadn’t been a top scorer all season for the Double A squad.

But with the North Vancouver school in a fierce battle with the Princess Margaret Mustangs, O’Flynn make big shot after big shot late to help his team pull out a 90-84 victory in a double-overtime thriller.

“It was a classic 8-9 (seed) matchup,” said Saints head coach Jim Kelly. “It’s kind of who wants it more. It was unfortunate that their best player (Adrian Orioli) fouled out (late in the fourth quarter). He’s a helluva player. We got lucky to be honest.”

That’s because the Saints’ top scorer and ball handler Jansen Balmaceda (24 points) left the game with a right leg injury with just under five minutes remaining in the fourth and never returned. But that only served to leave the spotlight to O’Flynn.

He made a tough layin in traffic with two minutes left in the fourth to put St. Thomas Aquinas up by six. Colton Alexa’s two huge three-pointers for Princess Margaret forced the first overtime and it looked like the Mustangs might just win the game until O’Flynn drained a three-pointer late in the extra session to force a second five-minute period.

O’Flynn had two points and a couple of big rebounds in that period to finish with 22 points, 14 rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Grade 11 forward Rory Goodwin clinched the win with four free throws in the final 30 seconds. He was aggressive driving to the basket throughout the game and finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds.

But it was O’Flynn who earned player of the game plaudits.

“He’s our only senior and he showed who he was tonight,” said Kelly. “Some of the other guys didn’t have their best game and it looked like we were nervous and kind of not ready. Michael’s never been a high scorer all year and he was tonight. It just goes to show you that seniors make a difference.”

O’Flynn admitted he’s “not known as a shooter, so when I make it, it makes me very happy. I’ll take it.”

Orioli had 26 points and five assists for the Mustangs. Carson Drobe had 19 points and Olexa 13 before he fouled out in the second overtime, in which Princess Margaret was outscored 12-6.

Neither team shot particularly well, with the Mustangs finishing at just 26 per cent from the field.



By Gary Kingston (special to Varsity Letters) 

LANGLEY — The only school with no nickname at the B.C. senior boys basketball championships got all they needed Wednesday from their dynamic guard with the double last name.

Grade 11 Jack Napier-Ganley was all over the court in the first half, scoring 15 points and keying a swarming defence as Brentwood College built a 35-9 lead en route to an easy 74-28 win over the Clarence Fulton Maroons of Vernon.

Napier-Ganley, who goes just five-foot-nine, had a pair of driving layups in a quick 12-0 run to open the second half for Brentwood, then took a seat for the rest of the game. He finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four steals.

“He knocked down a couple of shots, but the big thing with Jack is he guards and he competes like crazy,” said Brentwood head coach Blake Gage. “He gets to every loose ball. He guards the other team’s best player and does a great job.”

The Maroons struggled at times against Brentwood’s full court pressure, but even when they did break the press, their shooting let them down in the early-morning start in a nearly empty gym. They mis-fired on three relative gimmees inside early and tossed up at least half-a-dozen air balls or shots that hit nothing but glass. Clarence Fulton made just one basket in the second quarter and was a dismal 4-of-28 for the first half.

“I don’t what it was,” said Maroons’ head coach Dale Olson. “Honestly, I felt like we were really prepared for the game. The kids were up this morning, we had breakfast early, they were ready to go.

“But with this team, if we miss early shots we have a tough time getting going. We missed those three easy chipees to start the game out and it really set the pace for the game, unfortunately for us.

“You come out and hit a few more shots, you get competitive and you start believing you can put it in the hole instead of going the other way. How it ended, we all saw that. It wasn’t pretty.”

Karan Malholtra led the Maroons with seven points.

The No. 4 seed Brentwood, from Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, got 12 points from Feury Kelly, all of them on baskets from behind the arc, and 11 each from Juan Navarro, who was a beast inside with 14 rebounds, and Grade 9 wing Dylan Gage.

“We just wanted to get a W,” said Blake Gage. “We were lucky they missed some shots early and got discouraged. We wanted to play hard and put ourselves in a position to move on.”

Brentwood will face the winner of Surrey Christian-Abbotsford Christian in a Thursday quarterfinal.


Abbotsford Christian’s Zachary Meinen led his team past Surrey Christian and into the Elite 8 quarterfinals on Thursday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Gary Kingston (special to Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — As the underdog Surrey Christian Falcons were finding some much-needed life late in the second quarter Wednesday with a 16-6 run, Abbotsford Christian Knights star guard Zach Meinen was anxiously waiting at the scorer’s table for a stoppage in play.

A 24-point Knights lead in the BC senior boys Double A Sweet 16 matchup had been cut to 14 and the Falcons bench was up and lively and the five players on the court were looking energized. The Knights needed to stop the momentum.

“We couldn’t get a whistle and I was waiting to sub in,” said Meinen, who finally got on the floor with under 50 seconds remaining.

He quickly buried a baseline jumper and then, just before the buzzer, drained a James Harden-like long, step-back three to push the lead back to 19. The Falcons were demoralized and the margin never got closer in the second half as the No. 5-seeded Knights rolled to an 90-66 win.

“I made a couple of shots and rejuvenated the guys,” said Meinen, a Grade 12 who finished with a game-high 25 points, eight rebounds and a couple of assists.

“Zach turned that game around when he made that little run,” said head coach Keith Stewart. “He’s actually done that many times this year, made a bunch in a row. When he starts going off like that, we just leave him alone. He’s a great scorer.”

Spencer Langelaar 22 points for the Knights. Bruising forward Aaron Van Belle added 17, while also pulling down 10 rebounds.

Do-everything point guard David Liu led the Falcons with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists, but was harassed into seven turnovers by a Knights’ defence that played him tight all game.

This is the Knights sixth appearance at provincials — they finished fifth last year — but marks the first time they come in as Fraser Valley champions.

“This is the best team I’ve ever had in 32 years of coaching,” said Stewart. “We can do some damage. But we’ve got to have guys playing the whole game, not 30 minutes like we had today.”

Abbotsford Christian will face No. 4 Brentwood College on Thursday, a game Stewart says will be a huge challenge given the Vancouver Island school’s tremendous defence. Brentwood held Clarence Fulton to just 28 points in it’s opening win on Wednesday.
“They are a great team playing great defence,” said Stewart. “Their defence is going to create problems.”




NO. 2 KING GEORGE 95  NO. 15 J.L. CROWE 53

J.L. Crowe’s Wyatt Smith (left) finds the going tough against Maxim Astak of Vancouver’s King George Dragons on Wednesday at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)

LANGLEY — Love our Brothers. It’s the motto the King George Dragons live by and it was never stronger than on Wednesday when the 14th and 15th players on the roster were getting cheered heartily for hitting the scoresheet.

The Dragons, the No. 2 seed in the B.C. senior boys Double A basketball championships, overcame a bit of a sluggish start to down the J.L. Crowe Hawks of Trail 95-53.

It was just 15-8 after one quarter, but the Dragons used a 36-point second quarter to build a sizeable lead that they maintained through the second half. It enabled head coach Darko Kulic to empty his considerable bench down to the 15th man. Twelve Dragons scored, with the three that failed to record points at least hitting the scoresheet by pulling down rebounds.

Six-foot-nine forward Nikola Guzina led the way with 25 points and nine boards, but he’s more than just a big man with the ability to dominate inside. Guzina occasionally played point guard, bringing the ball up court and either driving hard to the basket or pulling up for three-pointers.

“Obviously, we have a player who might be the best player in B.C.,” Kulic said of Guzina, who came into the tournament carrying per game averages of 28.7 points, 15.9 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

“But we have depth, too. We have a lot of guys who can go in, and not just in a game like this where I play 15. I play at least 10 guys every game. They’re skilled in a lot of ways. It makes it easy for me as a coach. If one kid is not going, I can just put in another kid.”

Silvio Suchy had 15 points for the Dragons, while Grade 10 forward Adam Spano added 14 and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Sam Knight led the Hawks with 22 points.

Before the game, the Dragons went into a raucous, swaying mid-court huddle that Kulic says he copied from his favorite team, the NFL Seattle Seahawks.

“They do the ‘who’s got my back’ huddle. It’s basically saying we worked hard to get to whatever moment we’re at and it’s aimed at getting us realizing that ‘who’s got my back? I’ve got your back.’ LOB, Love our Brothers.”

While the Dragons are poised for a collision course with the reigning champion Charles Hays Rainmakers come Saturday evening, Kulic insists it’s too early to be thinking that way.

“Everybody’s been saying it’s us and Hays, us and Hays. Not me. I do think we can do it. Obviously I believe, but one game at a time. I’m just focussed on Thursday.”

That’s when King George will play a quarterfinal against the winner of Wednesday’s D.P. Todd vs. Mulgrave.

NO. 10 MULGRAVE  80  NO. 7 D.P. TODD 61

Mulgrave Titans’ Isaac Manji moves past DP Todd’s Reif Petrocvic during B.C. boys 2A Sweet 16 action Wednesday at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Gary Kingston (special to Varsity Letters) 

LANGLEY — Mulgrave from West Vancouver. It’s not a school many will be familiar with, a small enrolment International Baccalaureate institution with a diverse student population.

The Titans made it to the Single A B.C. senior boys basketball championships six times in 25 years with a best finish of fourth. Now a couple of years into the Double A tier, Mulgrave made a big impression Wednesday, upsetting the DP Todd Trojans of Prince George 80-61 in a Sweet 16 match up.

“It was awesome,” said crafty point guard Isaac Manji of the victory in the school’s first appearance at the Double A provincials.

“We’re so lucky to even be here,” he added after the Titans edged Collingwood to earn the No. 3 qualifying spot out of the Sea to Sky zone. “To get this win as a lower seed (No. 10 to D.P. Todd’s No. 7) feels so good.”

Manji was the Titan’s top scorer with 23 points and, despite checking in at just five-foot-nine, also led the team in rebounds with 12. Guard Owen McMenemy-Brown added 15 points and forwards Aleksei Rubin and Behbod Panahandeh each contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds.

After D. P. Todd closed to within 12 early in the fourth quarter, Rubin went to work on the baseline, scoring three consecutive baskets on strong inside moves.

“The kid can jump out of the gym,” Mulgrave head coach Claude Leduc said of the six-foot-four Grade 11. “He’s got a really sweet move, that one dribble-hop from the short corner.”

The Titans won the battle of the boards, 53-36 and held the Trojans to just 26 per cent shooting for the game.

“We’ve got a bit of everything,” said Leduc. “We’ve got guys who can shoot it, guys that can bang, guys that can run, we’ve got guys that like to play defence. And everyone likes to share and work at it together.

“But our point guard drives it. Fantastic game. He’s a special player. When the stakes are the biggest, he plays big.”

Cameron Sale was D. P. Todd’s leading scorer with 24, the only Trojan in double figures.

Mulgrave now advances to a quarterfinal meeting on Thursday with No. 2 seed King George.

“We haven’t played them yet, but we’ve seen them,” said Leduc. “They’re from the same zone as us. They’re a handful. They got a great player (six-foot-nine forward Nikola Guzina). They’re well coached. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”



Hugh Boyd Trojans’ Nicholas Berda (left) turns a corner in the paint against Lambrick Park’s Makhail Bondoreff and Nate Crust (right) during opening-round clash at the Langley Events Centre on Wednesday. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Gary Kingston (special to Varsity Letters) 

LANGLEY — Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be spectacular or flashy. Sometimes, you can get the job done by just being coolly efficient.

That was the case Wednesday for the Lambrick Park Lions, who opened their BC senior boys Double A basketball championship with a clinical 85-48 dispatching of the Hugh Boyd Trojans.

The Victoria-based Lions, seeded No. 6, played stout defence and got big scoring games from Coban Scott (28 points) and Taine Clague (26), who combined to take 38 of Lambrick Park’s 75 shots.

“Probably one of our better defensive performances,” said co-head coach Ed Somers, whose squad forced 26 turnovers and limited the Trojans to just 27.5 per cent shooting from the field.

“In the first half, I think we got 11-12 points from our transition offence (off turnovers). By locking in defensively . . . we were confident we weren’t giving up easy baskets. I think they got stuck on 20 (points) for quite a long time.”

In fact, Hugh Boyd went scoreless for about eight minutes stretched between the second and third quarters as the Lions also blocked several shot attempts in close. As the scoring drought continued for Hugh Boyd, the Trojans clearly looked dispirited at their inability to cut into the Lions lead.

“We were really efficient,” said Scott. “First half we got off to a pretty slow start (leading just 14-12 after one quarter), but we picked it up. We knew we were better as a team.”

A Scott three-pointer and then six-straight points from Clague on the inside helped build the lead to 55-28 late in the third and an 11-2 run early in the fourth quarter put the game fully out of reach.

Ten Trojans hit the scoresheet, but no player made it into double figures.

The Lions move on to face No. 14 seed George Elliot of Lake Country in a Thursday quarterfinal and Somers expects a tough game.

“No, no,” said Somers when asked if the Coyotes looked like a No. 14 seed in beating No. 3 Southridge 76-60. “We kind of knew. I’ve seen that school long enough. Volleyball kids by this time of year playing amazing basketball. They’re way better than a 14th seed.”


George’s Elliot’s Roan McCarthy (centre) helped Lake Country’s Yotes prove they were a lot better than the No. 14 seed. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)

By Gary Kingston (special to Varsity Letters)

LANGLEY — Based on the seedings, it was the first big major upset of the BC senior boys basketball tournament.

Based on some video review, however, it was no shocker at all. Not to Southridge Storm head coach Ray Kwok.

His squad, seeded No. 3 in Double A, was never really in the game Wednesday, falling 76-60 to the No. 14 George Elliot Coyotes of Lake Country.

“You know what, I watched about six hours of video on them,” said Kwok. “I kept watching it going ‘there’s no way they’re a 14 seed.’ They have all the pieces. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get to the final again like last year.”

The Coyotes lost the Double A championship game last year 78-51 to the powerhouse Charles Hays Rainmakers, No. 1 seed again this March, and return five key players. But they don’t have a lot of depth, didn’t play much on the coast this season and lost in the semifinals of the Okanagan zone, so maybe that explains the seeding.

“Yeah, I don’t think so,” said a grinning Coyotes forward Roan McCarthy when asked if they truly should have been seeded where they were. “I think they always overlook the Lake Country boys. And the Coast guys didn’t really have a good look at us.”

The six-foot-five McCarthy, Varsity Letters’ B.C. senior boys volleyball player of the year was one of three George Elliot players with 14 points. He also pulled down eight boards and dished out a team-high four assists.

He’s part of a versatile five-man starting unit — Carter McConnell, Bergen Van Lent, Triston Hearn and Chris Auger are the others — who measure six-foot-three to six-foot-five. All but Auger, who had a game-high 12 boards, can run the offence. They all crash the boards with intensity and they’re unselfish.

“They’re all big guys and four of them can handle the ball,” said coach Kathy Lafontaine. “So we don’t really have a point guard. Carter has sort of stepped into that role, but there are four of them that rotate there. We have four posts that sometimes are guards. We are a flexible team and we use that.”

George Elliot will play the winner of the Lambrick Park-Hugh Boyd in a quarterfinal contest on Thursday

“It would be great (to get back to the final),” said McCarthy. “We’ve got a great group of guys. We’ve got experience from last year. We’re just going to take what we have and run with it.”

Graham Block led Southridge with 20 points, while Harrison Hughes chipped in with 12.

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