Dan Kinvig, a great friend of Varsity Letters and the sports information director with the Fraser Valley Cascades will provide updates through the day from both tiers.
We thank Dan for his time and his passion for high school basketball!
By Dan Kinvig
SMUS 90, Nechako Valley 51
A gritty performance on the glass helped spark a blowout for St. Michaels University School, as they knocked off Nechako Valley of Vanderhoof in the round of 16.
Steve Nash’s alma mater blitzed Nechako 60-31 in the rebounding department, with Quinn Ngawati setting the tone by snaring 13 boards and Sammy de Vries tracking down 10.
No. 3-seeded SMUS got a big offensive performance from Grade 12 guard Ryan Hindson (20 points on 9-of-15 shooting), and fellow seniors Jamison Schulz-Franco (13 points) and Jason Liao (12 points) also scored in double figures as part of the Victoria squad’s balanced attack.
No. 14 Nechako Valley’s Jonathan Mueller tied Hindson for game-high scoring honours with 20 points including six three-pointers, and Hunter Brophy scored 10.
Westsyde 78, Abbotsford Christian 71
The Westsyde Whundas are off to the 2A quarter-finals after fending off a furious fourth-quarter charge by the Abbotsford Christian Knights.
The Kamloops squad built a 42-25 edge at halftime, limiting the Knights to 22.2 per cent shooting from the field over the opening 20 minutes. Abby Christian found its offensive mojo after the break, shooting 42.9 per cent the rest of the way, and they got back to within single digits in the fourth quarter only to come up just short.
Senior guard Scott Lemphers (23 points) and Grade 11 forward Spencer Ledoux (22 points) lit the fuse offensively for the Whundas, while Nathan Strank posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Knights were led by a trio of seniors: Levi Joosse scored a team-best 17 points, and Matt Veltkamp and Justin Van Dorp notched 14 apiece.
Lambrick Park 97 St. Thomas Aquinas 77
When it comes to blending a championship recipe, Ed Somers is as qualified a chef as you’ll find in the B.C. high school basketball ranks.
Somers has, after all, coached the Lambrick Park Lions to a remarkable six provincial 2A boys championships – the first coming in 1990, the most recent in 2014.
On Wednesday, taking stock of the ingredients he had to work with in the Lions’ 97-77 victory over North Vancouver’s St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints in the opening round of the 2017 edition of the provincial 2A tournament, Somers was less excited about his team’s near-triple-digit offensive outburst than he was about their defensive effort.
The Victoria-based Lions made Fighting Saints scoring machine Michael Kelly work for everything he got – the 6’0” senior guard managed a game-high 25 points, but he needed 28 shots (8-of-28 from the field, 2-of-12 from beyond the arc) to do it.
Somers rotated a trio of defenders against Kelly: Matt Collett, Zeke Holt and Luke de Greef.
“It was a Grade 12 (Holt), a Grade 11 (Collett) and a Grade 10 (de Greef), and they did a really good job,” the veteran bench boss enthused. “And he still scored (almost) 30. Can you imagine if we hadn’t guarded him?
“We talked about reducing his touches and giving him the fewest possible chances to score. Because he’s such a good scorer, if he’s already in position it’s too late. The rest of their team really stepped up and scored, too, and whatever we did, it seemed like they had a counter. They’re really well-coached, and very competitive kids. You could see that down to the last three minutes of the game – it was never over.”
Indeed, the Fighting Saints – who brought a large contingent of vocal fans – lived up to their nickname, scrapping to stay close throughout. But every time they seemed poised to make a serious dent in the double-digit deficit they faced from the second quarter on, the Lions would have an answer, often from beyond the arc.
Stretch forward Evin Gill spearheaded the Lambrick Park attack, counting a trio of triples among his 20 points, and Holt racked up 17 points and 11 boards en route to player of the game honours. Calvin and Austin Somers – the coach’s Grade 12 twin sons – posted 18 and 12 points, respectively.
STA forward Matteo Botteselle registered 23 points (4-of-8 from beyond the arc), and Chad Steverding chipped in with 17 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Looking ahead, Coach Somers termed his team’s path to the finals “a gauntlet” – they face the Fraser Valley champ G.W. Graham Grizzlies in Thursday’s quarter-finals, and if they survive that, they could see top-seeded Brentwood College in the semis.
“Brentwood’s probably the class of it, and Graham played us early and got us by 11,” he said. “So we’ll see. But you know what? We really played competitive today.”
H.J. Cambie 71, Clarence Fulton 57
Richmond’s H.J. Cambie Crusaders came to life in the fourth quarter, surging past the Clarence Fulton Maroons to earn a spot in the 2A quarter-finals.
The Vernon-based Maroons led 35-31 at halftime and the two teams were deadlocked 50-50 at the end of the third quarter, but the final frame belonged to the Crusaders. The No. 8-seeded squad in the bracket outscored No. 9 Fulton 21-7 over the last 10 minutes to win comfortably.
Seniors Zak Hassan and Kevin Dhillon led the fourth-quarter charge for Cambie. Hassan scored nine of his game-high 23 points in the fourth, and eight of player of the game Dhillon’s 20 points were in the final frame.
The Maroons struggled shooting the basketball, hitting just 17.6 per cent of their attempts from the field. But they stayed in the game thanks to their ability to get into the paint and draw contact – they shot 35 free throws, hitting 24 of them. They were led by a pair of Grade 11s: Guard Nathan Banga went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe en route to a team-high 17 points, and forward Hunter Kreiger had 13 points and 11 boards.
G.W. GRAHAM 112 GEORGE ELLIOT 71
LANGLEY — The Fraser Valley champion G.W. Graham Grizzlies kept the pedal to the metal in their 2A tournament opener, showcasing a modern brand of pace-and-space basketball spearheaded by their dynamic backcourt duo of Gabe Mannes and Curtis Kmyta en route to victory over the George Elliot Coyotes.
The Chilliwack squad loves to turn games into track meets, racing out for layups in transition and hunting three-pointers in the halfcourt – an approach popularized by the Steve Nash-era Phoenix Suns and carried on today by teams like the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.
On Wednesday, the No. 4-seeded Grizzlies’ relentless pace wore down their opponents from Lake Country in the Okanagan. The Coyotes stayed within single digits into the second quarter behind uber-athletic 6’7” centre Flynn McCarthy (more on him in a minute). But Graham finished the frame strong, expanding their lead to 53-33 at halftime, and they opened the third quarter on an 18-0 run to put the game out of reach.
“We’ve got a system we like to play,” Grizzlies coach Jake Mouritzen acknowledged. “Teams can usually hang around at the half, but we’re pretty confident that by the third and fourth quarters, we’ll wear them down.
“This is a special group. We don’t really care who we’re playing, we just enjoy being who we are and doing what we do. We’re trying to get four wins this week, and if we don’t get four wins this week, we’ll go and have a milkshake together afterwards.”
Mannes is the straw who stirs the drink for the Grizzlies – the 6’0” senior point guard racked up 24 points and even managed a dunk on a second-half breakaway. But it was Kmyta who earned player of the game honours on Wednesday, swishing seven triples on his way to 35 points with many of his open looks coming off assists from Mannes.
“We think Gabe is the best point guard in the province at any level,” Mouritzen said. “The last two years, he’s become an elite passer, and that’s something that we knew he had to become. He’s a freak . . . we talk about the gravity of the game, and Gabe brings the gravity to him which creates opportunities for others. Our guys put in hours every morning shooting, and we get those open looks because Gabe can create them.”
The Coyotes’ McCarthy, meanwhile, accounted for well over half of his team’s offensive output, pouring in 40 points on a variety of post moves, fadeaway jumpers and putbacks. He would undoubtedly be getting all the attention he could handle from U SPORTS basketball programs if he weren’t even better at volleyball – the Canadian junior national team member has committed to play volleyball at UBC in the fall.
“He also plays hockey – all the way to Grade 12, he’s been a three-sport athlete,” Coyotes head coach Kathy Lafontaine marveled. “He is just so athletic . . . We’re just thrilled he works as hard as he does and he doesn’t give up. He would like to stay on the entire 40 minutes.”
Lafontaine noted that taking on a championship-calibre team like the Grizzlies is great experience for the George Elliot underclassmen.
“We’re a volleyball school, and we struggled to bring in basketball,” she said. “These guys were in volleyball provincials until the day before the season started, so we’ve been really slow growing.
“We have some seniors, but we have juniors on our team too, and it was great for those guys to see what a well-developed team could be.”
Brentwood College 97 Prince Charles 39
The bright-and-early 8:30 a.m. start didn’t faze Brentwood College – the top seed in the 2A draw turned in an energetic performance in its opener against the Creston-based Prince Charles Comets.
The Mill Bay squad’s length, athleticism and depth were on full display as they out-rebounded the Comets 44-24 and shot a scorching 51.8 per cent from the field while forcing the No. 16 seed into 27 turnovers. Grade 11 guard Bruno Chan paced the winners with 20 points on 9-of-13 from the field, Olamide Olatunbosun chipped in with 16 points, and Jonathan MacDonald tracked down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Prince Charles senior guard Jacob Dumas (12 points) and Grade 10 forward Sage Evans (10 points) both scored in double figures, and Mark Armstrong racked up 10 boards.
Ron Pettigrew Christian 104, St. Andrew’s 55
It’s pleasantly surprising that Hollywood hasn’t produced a sequel to Hoosiers, arguably the greatest sports movie ever. Sometimes it’s best not to mess with perfection.
The Ron Pettigrew Christian Lions lived their own Hoosiers story last season, coming from the relative obscurity of the No. 7 seed to claim their first-ever provincial Single A boys basketball championship. The Dawson Creek squad’s incredible narrative captured the imagination of B.C. hoops fans – 28 years prior, the school’s namesake Ron Pettigrew and five Bethel Christian School players had been killed in a fatal crash on the way to the first B.C. Single A tournament. When Pettigrew Christian won the 2016 provincial crown, they were coached by Pettigrew’s daughter Dianne Tower and featured his grandson Garrett Tower.
Both Dianne and Garrett are back at the B.C. championships this year looking for a repeat performance, but the Hoosiers vibe isn’t as strong this time around. The Lions are the No. 1 seed, the pre-tourney favourite, and they lived up to that billing in their opener, sprinting past the St. Andrew’s Sabres of Victoria in the round of 16.
There are still some underdog undertones, though – the Lions have just seven players on their roster, and despite their lack of depth, they’ve got the stamina to push the pace for 40 minutes and love to do so.
“That’s our style,” Dianne Tower explained. “We can play a slower-paced game, but we do our best when we let them run. We’ve done it all year, and we’ve played in big tournaments and had a couple games a day, even.”
Four players did the bulk of the scoring for Pettigrew on Wednesday: Lance Gavino had 33, Mej Fernandez had 29, Garrett Tower had 22, and Francis Obeta notched 18 points and 10 boards.
Gabriel Reda (14 points) and Michael Keane (10 points) replied for the Sabres.
Part of Dianne Tower’s strategy for prepping her squad to carry the No. 1-seed bull’s-eye at provincials was to play a tough tournament schedule against predominantly 3A and 4A teams, often in Alberta because it’s a shorter drive from Dawson Creek.
“There’s definitely a different feel this year – there’s pressure,” she said, reflecting on returning to the Langley Events Centre as defending champs. “One of the things we did deliberately was, we played up against bigger schools. We’re used to 15 or 20 kids on the other team’s bench and full-court pressing the entire game.
“Last year, nobody knew who we were so there wasn’t really any pressure on us. We wanted to mentally prepare them this time.”
If Game 1 was any indication, they’re ready.
Khalsa 86, Duncan Christian 59
An explosive-yet-efficient outing from Amrit Mangat set the tone for Surrey’s Khalsa Lions as they rolled past the Duncan Christian Chargers in their Single A tourney opener.
Grade 11 forward Mangat rang up a 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field and added eight rebounds – both were game-high totals. Fellow Grade 11s Jaskirat Sandhu and Harkerat Bhangu chipped in with 16 and 13 points, respectively for the No. 9 seed.
Duncan Christian got 16 points from Adam Kapteyn, 14 from Mike Brandsma, and 12 from Matt Brandsma.
B.C. Christian Academy 89, Northside Christian 43
The B.C. Christian Academy Panthers drained any suspense from the proceedings early, racing out to a 63-25 halftime lead on their way to victory in their Single A provincial tourney opener.
The Panthers flexed their muscles offensively, shooting 56.5 per cent in the first half and 48.1 per cent for the game. A veteran and a youngster led the way: Senior Cody Dowell poured in a team-high 24 points, and Grade 8 Harry Oghomienor scored 22. Paul Berinde (15 points), Quentin Onyemordi (14) and Zack Kuzyk (12) also scored in double figures for the Port Coquitlam squad.
Tyler Bublitz and Mathias Froese, with 12 points apiece, set the pace for Vanderhoof’s Northside Christian North Stars.
Bulkley Valley Christian 87, Similkameen 66
Nathan Steenhof had a monster debut in the 1A provincial tourney, stuffing the stat sheet in impressive fashion to lead the No. 7 Bulkley Valley Christian Royals to a come-from-behind win over the No. 10 Similkameen Sparks.
Bulkley Valley trailed 45-37 at halftime, but blitzed the Sparks 50-21 in the second half to pull away and punch their ticket to the quarter-finals.
Steenhof, a Grade 11 guard, was in the middle of everything. Remarkably, half of his 36 points came from the charity stripe – he earned an eye-popping 24 free throws, making 18 of them, and added eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Saymon Loki, the Royals’ 6’5” Grade 11 forward, notched 22 points.
River Eaglespeaker paced the Sparks with 15 points, while Andaru West scored 11 points and Corbin Marsden registered 10 points and eight boards.
Credo Christian 96, Fraser Lake 65
Levi Leyenhorst was the epitome of efficiency on Wednesday, powering the Credo Christian Kodiaks to victory over Fraser Lake in their opener at the B.C. 1A tournament.
The Kodiaks’ 6’5” senior guard racked up 38 points on 18-of-24 shooting from the field and added nine rebounds. The No. 4-seeded squad from Langley held a relatively modest 19-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, but outscored their opponent from the North Central zone 66-30 over the second and third to assure themselves a spot in the quarter-finals.
Reuben Sikma (13 points), Aidan Dewit (10 points) and Nolan Dewit (10 points) also contributed offensively for Credo. Senior guards Daryl Fehr (19 points) and Randy Fehr (15 points) led the way for No. 12 Fraser Lake.
Kelowna Christian 101, Deer Lake 64
Fifth-seeded Kelowna Christian, B.C. Single A champions just two years ago, demonstrated its potential for another deep run early in their Round of 16 clash with Burnaby’s Deer Lake Falcons.
The Knights raced out to a 28-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, and expanded the lead further in the third quarter, outscoring the Falcons 32-14 in the frame.
Grade 12 guard Dawson Swendseid had an extremely efficient performance, racking up a team-best 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field. Jackson Katler (19 points), Cruz Andersen (13 points), Carter Martens (13 points) and Tyler Jardine also chipped in offensively for the Knights, who out-rebounded Deer Lake by a 41-18 margin.
Kevin Ferrufino paced the No. 12 Falcons with a game-high 25 points (9-for-16 from the field), and Taryk Prendergast scored 14.
Sparwood 68, King David 47
A huge second-half rally boosted the Sparwood Spartans past Vancouver’s King David Lions in a small-town-vs.-big-city clash to open the 1A tournament.
The No. 6-seeded Spartans, who traveled 900-plus kilometres from their hometown near the Alberta border to take their shot at provincial glory, started slowly, trailing 35-22 at halftime. But they dominated after the break thanks to some lockdown defence – the No. 11 Lions mustered just six points in the third quarter and six more in the fourth, while Sparwood exploded for 46 points in the second half to win comfortably.
Senior forward Tyler Bruce sparked the Spartans with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, and Wyatt Wyld (16 points) and Eric Reidel (13 points) also cracked the double-digit points plateau.
Benjamin Munt (13 points) and Elan Clark (10 points) replied for King David, which shot just 12.5 per cent from the field in the second half after hitting 46.9 per cent of their attempts in the first.
Heritage Christian 88, Mulgrave 52
A dominant first quarter set the tone for the Heritage Christian Saints – the No. 3 seed from Kelowna raced out to a 31-10 lead after 10 minutes against West Van’s Mulgrave Titans and cruised from there to punch their ticket to the 1A quarter-finals.
The Saints led 7-5 early before reeling off a 20-0 run to seize control of the proceedings, and led by as many as 32 points in the second quarter. In a remarkable display of offensive balance, Heritage Christian had six double-figure scorers: Isaiah Akurienne (16), Raymond Barrett (14), Sam Bell (12), Joshua Weekes (12), Jordan Nenasheff (11) and Timi Akindele (10).
Mulgrave Grade 11 guard John Taghavi turned in a prolific shooting performance in the loss, draining seven three-pointers to account for all of his game-high 21 points.
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