PORT COQUITLAM —The Semiahmoo Totems knew they had an Achilles Heel, and so they made it a front-and-centre priority in each and every one of their practices.
“Every day in practice we would start off with full-court pressure drills, so we have practiced a lot against on-ball pressure,” said Totems senior wing Vlad Mihaila.
Turns out it was just enough practice to carry the South Surrey squad into the semifinals at the Terry Fox Legal Beagle invitational.
The No. 9-ranked Totems, who led by as many as 19 points (40-21) in the opening half, stood tall against the weight of a figurative kitchen sink thrown their way by Surrey’s No. 4-ranked Holy Cross Crusaders to emerge with an 80-71 victory, one which looks like the program’s mid-season signature win.
“They definitely play hard and quick,” said Mihaila of the Crusaders. “But we really, we’ve practiced our whole season for a game like this one. We have struggled against the press, so the main thing was just to catch the ball, square up and make sure we didn’t panic.”
Holy Cross, however, behind the play of Grade 11 guard Michael Risi, made a huge rally.
Risi’s lay-in with five minutes remaining put Holy Cross ahead 68-67, but the energy expended through the rally seemed to exhaust their collective reserves down the stretch drive.
Dominic Calderon added 21 for the winners while Adam Paige scored 12 points.
Risi led Holy Cross with 18 points, while Gabe Takeawoa added 12, Brent Padilla 11 and Jamal Osei-Anim 10 points.
6:45 p.m. — Oak Bay vs. Walnut Grove
8:30 p.m. — Terry Fox vs. Semiahmoo
5:45 p.m. — 3rd-4th
7:30 p.m. — championship final
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