LANGLEY — What a day to dance on the hardwood of the Langley Events Centre.
Thanks for coming back and joining us for the third day of the 2022 Tournament.
Please keep checking back throughout the evening as myself and fellow writer Aaron Martin cover the day’s semifinal clashes.
Games are being live-streamed if you can’t make it out. Go to TFSEtv.ca
As well, please share our links and postings on social media. It is very much appreciated!
Here’s our game-by-game reports:
— Howard Tsumura
STORIES BY AARON MARTIN (Special for Varsity Letters)
LAMBRICK PARK 85, BRENTWOOD COLLEGE 72
LANGLEY – The top two teams in the Vancouver Island region had to go through each other to earn their place at the BC Single A Championship finals, and by the final buzzer, the Lambrick Park Lions took care of business in a convincing 85-72 win over Brentwood College.
The first half, a high-pace race down the court, seemed to highlight a difference in tactics on the two sides. Whereas the No. 3-seeded Brentwood College’s deep roster saw nine different players contribute at least four points in the first half – Grade 11 guard Dylan Gage led the way with 10 points. However, No. 2-seeded Lambrick Park’s offence was decidedly centered on two focal points in Grade 12 forward Owen Jones (14 points, four rebounds) and Grade 11 forward Alex Moch (17 points, four boards).
“This is the third time we’ve played them,” said Lions head coach Ed Somers. “I have so much respect for [Brentwood College head] coach [Blake] Gage and his son – he’s a great player. Both teams were so hyped up for this and so ready. And once we got our big man [Moch] open down low, he just was unbelievable. They didn’t really have an answer for him and our kids found ways to get him the ball.”
The tallest player on the court at 6-foot-7, Moch had his way in the first half. However, Brentwood College’s excellent perimeter defense kept them in the game – the Lions’ guards were held to a collective 13 points. Never allowing the Lions to surge too far out of reach, Lambrick Park held just a 44-41 lead at the break.
The Lions roared out of the gates to open the second half. Engineering a 11-0 run, including a full-court pass from Jones to Moch on the fast break and a slick corner triple from guard Aiden Grew, gave Lambrick Park their first double-digit lead of the contest.
Brentwood College didn’t get their first points of the third until past the five-minute mark, and while the latter half of the quarter saw them catch their footing a bit, some excellent three-point marksmanship from Grew and Jones helped the Lions press forward. Heading into the final frame, Lambrick Park’s lead had grown to 69-49.
The margin never shrank below 13 points over the course of the final 10 minutes, as the Lions cruised to the decisive victory. Moch ended the contest as the game’s top scorer with 25 points, adding 10 boards and two assists en route to Player of the Game honours. Jones also finished with an impressive 24 points and eight rebounds, while Gage paced Brentwood College with 23 points and six rebounds.
“We dreamed of it,” said Somers of his squad’s upcoming championship bout. “That was a long-time rival who we have nothing but respect for, so to go through them to make the finals is really cool. I’m happy we won, but not excited yet. Because we still have one more thing to take care of.”
WESTSYDE 68, WEST POINT GREY ACADEMY 52
LANGLEY – A terrific performance from Grade 12 point guard Caleb Ezedebego proved enough to power his Westsyde Whundas into the BC Double A Championship finals on Friday night, as he scored 24 points adding seven blocks and four steals en route to a 68-52 win over the No. 9-seed West Point Grey Academy Wolves.
Ezedebego was electric, while Grade 12 forward Calen Hamilton and Grade 11 guard Caleb Gremaud notched 15 points apiece. Mac Steenburgh led the charge for the Wolves with a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double, while senior guard Kai Tukker had 13 points.
“We did pretty well,” said Westsyde head coach Chris Gremaud. “They were a really athletic team, more than we had seen on video, so I was really impressed. They’re good defenders and hard to stop when they get going. Overall, I was happy – our point guard, #7 [Ezedebego], he hit some big shots, he made a few huge plays for us, and that really changed things.”
The opening frame was tight – neither side could create any meaningful separation, as the largest margin in either direction was a 5-0 lead that the Wolves claimed off the opening tip. The back-and-forth affair saw neither side make more than two consecutive shots, as Westsyde, who came in as the No. 4 seed, took a 16-13 lead into the break.
As tightly contested as the first quarter was, the second quarter flipped the script entirely in favour of the Whundas.
After Westsyde opened the second quarter on a quick 7-0 run that featured a beautiful Ezedebego triple, Tukker stopped the bleeding with a deep corner three of his own.
The energy seemed to hit another level in the latter half of the second quarter as both sides started to trade shots again. For every Whunda make courtesy of Ezedebego or Hamilton, it seemed like Steenburgh, Tukker, or Spencer Neil managed to answer for the Wolves.
After leading by as much as 14 in the quarter, Westsyde held just a 37-28 lead by the time the buzzer rang out to signal the end of the second. Aside from Ezedebego’s performance, the biggest difference from the opening 20 minutes was a fundamental one – taking care of the basketball. The Wolves turned over the ball 14 times in the first half while the Whundas only coughed it up five times.
The second-quarter script seemed to re-write itself to start the third frame – a 6-0 Whundas run was only stemmed by an impressive fadeaway jumper from Tukker.
“Not really,” replied Gremaud, when asked whether there was a reason behind his team’s quick starts. “I think we’re pretty known for our pressure, and so maybe when guys have had the chance to focus and reset, they come out with a bit more energy.”
Up 49-37, back-to-back treys from Ezedebego and Gremaud gave Westsyde their biggest lead of the contest to that point, as they rolled a 55-39 cushion into the final frame.
Like clockwork, Westsyde again pressed their advantage and effectively put the game away in the opening minutes of the fourth. A deep David Falade triple served as a highlight on a 10-2 Whundas surge.
Despite a valiant 11-0 run from West Point Grey Academy late, the deficit proved too large to overcome, as the Whundas earned their shot to play for the provincial title.
Westsyde’s road to glory will see them take on the No. 2-seeded Lambrick Park Lions in tomorrow’s championship clash.
“There’s a reason they were #1 for a lot of the year,” said Gremaud of the Lions. “They’re big, fast, and skilled. But we’ve earned the right to be on that floor tomorrow, and anything can happen in a championship game. We’ve just got to go out and leave it all out there.”
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