LANGLEY — We’ve gone final for Day 2 of the 2020 B.C. senior boys basketball championships.
Here’s your game reports!
TOP HALF DRAW
No. 1 Burnaby South 89 No. 8 Oak Bay 49
LANGLEY — Justin Sunga was just happy to help history repeat itself Thursday night at the Langley Events Centre.
Two seasons ago, he was a ninth grader watching from the sidelines as older brother Vince and the rest of the Burnaby South Rebels took down the Oak Bay Bays 78-66 in the quarterfinal round of the B.C. Quad-A tournament on its way to the B.C. title.
Fast forward two years, and the younger Sunga, now in Grade 11, walked off the floor as the Player of the Game, scoring 18 points to go along with five assists, five rebounds and three steals in another quarterfinal win over the Bays, this time by a more decisive 89-49 count.
“I wasn’t on the team that season,” said Sunga who was the only 10th grader to make head coach Mike Bell’s senior varsity the next season. “But I remember watching. It felt good today to prove that we are the No. 1 seed.”
The deep and dangerous Rebels are indeed living up to their pre-tourney rank.
Lock-down defence held Oak Bay to just three points in the second quarter, and on offence, four others hit double-figures in points.
Guards Jareb Pineda and Emir Krupic scored 16 and 15 points respectively, while fowards Sasha Vujisic and Karan Aujla added 13 and 14 points respectively.
Lucas Maffia scored 20 to lead the Bays.
Back in 2018, Diego Maffia, the Victoris Vikes’ freshman guard, scored 43 points. On Thursday, Diego Maffia was helping out head coach Chris Franklin on the bench, clipboard in hand.
The Rebels face Vancouver College in Friday’s 8:45 p.m. semifinal.
No. 4 Vancouver College 101 No. 5 Abbotsford 87
LANGLEY — The Vancouver College Fighting Irish gave fans in the stands at the Langley Event Centre’s spacious Arena Court facility a microcosm of their entire season over the opening quarter of its B.C. Quad-A quarterfinal clash with the Abbotsford Panthers.
The Irish, a team that was levelled by injuries for much of the season but stuck with their process to earn their B.C. championship tournament berth, were stone-cold early in falling behind 10-0 to the Panthers.
Yet they never blinked the entire time, coming back to take a 17-15 lead before the quarter was over on their way to a 101-87 win, and a Final Four berth Friday against the Burnaby South/Oak Bay winner.
“We played really good defence,” said Irish assistant Doug Beers. “We got off to a bit of a shaky start but we kept with it. (Head coach) Lloyd (Scrubb) really gets them to play great defence and it pays off at this time of the year.”
Of course having senior guard Hunter Cruz-Dumont playing the best basketball of his career at just the right time doesn’t hurt the cause.
Averaging 24.8 points over the course of the regular season, Cruz-Dumont put things in overdrive against Abby, his voluminous 17-of-27 shooting performance part of a game-high 40-point game.
As well, the Irish’s overall length, especially in the frontcourt, proved to be huge for their cause.
The 6-foot-7 Grade 11 Jacob Holt had 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting, and grabbed 11 rebounds. As well, 6-foot-4 senior forward Sahil Sandhu, injured for nine months, played what Beers called his best game of the season in finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds.
“We always knew we were a good team,” said Beers, “but we were just fighting injuries.”
The Panthers lost despite having six players hit double figures in scoring.
Karn Brar led with 18, while Jesse Davis had 14, and Keyan De Vries, Brandt Lenz and Sahilveer Sidhu added 13 each. Ben McGuckin had 11.
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
No. 7 Handsworth 70 No. 2 Centennial 67
LANGLEY — Randy Storey couldn’t help but think back to the greatest moment in Handsworth boys basket history on Thursday night.
After all, his Royals, unranked to start the season, had just taken down Coquitlam’s No. 2-ranked Centennial Centaurs 70-67 in the quarterfinal round of the B.C. Quad-A championships.
As Storey pondered a reporter’s question about what made this 2020 edition special, he was instantly transported back in time.
“It’s a little bit like our 2006 team,” the veteran coach said of his B.C. AAA champions which featured Grade 11 post Robert Sacre, and a pair of gritty senior guards in Scott Leigh and the late, great Quinn Keast.
“That team won with five starters that had double digit points and that is one of our strengths this year… we are very balanced.
“It could be Zach (Watters) or Marko (Stojsavljevic) with outside shots, or Mattys (Van Bylandt) doing his work around the basket.”
To say the Royals are balanced is a gross understatement.
On Thursday Stojsavljevic led the way with 16 points, George Horn scored 12, while Watters and Rob Lutman each had 13.
“Everyone on our team is a leader, and everyone on our team is a scorer,” said Stojsavljevic. “This is an awesome team.”
Handsworth fell behind 12-0 to start the game but roared back to lead 30-28 at half.
Stojsavljevic’s trey with 3:48 left looked like a dagger, putting the Royals up 65-56, yet the Centaurs were able to mount one last push, reeling off a 9-0 run on a pair of buckets from big man Dom Parolin, a triple from Braeden Markiewicz and a layup by Leif Skelding.
That tied the score at 65-65, but Van Bylandt, a Grade 11, iced it when he pulled up for a three, then went to the stripe and knocked down a pair of free throws for a 70-65 lead.
Parolin was again amazing, a Lars Hansen of his generation, scoring 41 points both in the paint and off the dribble, while grabbing 16 rebounds. Skelding added 13 points including the final two of the game.
The Royals will face either Kelowna or Claremont in Friday’s 7 p.m. semifinal.
No. 3 Kelowna 94 No. 11 Claremont 82
LANGLEY — One longtime, former high school basketball coach with what we can only call Hall of Fame credential, offered this critique of the Kelowna Owls, who topped the Claremont Spartans 94-82 Thursday to earn a Friday Final Four berth:
“No. 4 is in foul trouble,” he said of one of the Owls’ best scoring threats in Malcom Greggor, “but it doesn’t matter because he’s got five others just like him. He does line changes.”
The ‘he’ in question is KSS head coach Harry Parmar, and the depth of the 2020 Owls is not the stuff of hyperbole.
Yet in a game with its ebbs and its flows, Parmar was not happy with the way his team built a 24-point lead midway through the second quarter then found themselves unable to stop a determined Spartans team from continually reeling them back in.
“We won but I am not happy about the way we won at all,” Parmar said. “In general I am not happy. We didn’t execute, we didn’t play defence the way we need to. We’re taking way too many plays off. To me, the score doesn’t matter. We have to do things the right way.”
It was a different night for the Owls.
It’s scoring was not as balanced as it has been, but Jayden Lalonde was terrific in pouring home a game-high 33 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Greggor finished with 14 and Jonathon Haughton added 13 more.
Bann Manns led five Claremont players in double figures with 20 points. Etan Boag had 15 and 10 rebounds while Kyle Pepper had 12 points.
Parmar is familiar with Friday’s foe.
He invited Handsworth to last month’s Western Canada invitational in Kelowna, and said he was not shocked that the Royals upset Centennial for a spot in tomorrow’s Final Four.
“They are big, they got a lot of things and they can match up,” said Parmar. “They are a big team, And here’s the thing: We’re not a big team. But you can’t complain about that. What are you going to do? We are going to try and do what we do, and they are going to try and do what they do, and we’ll see who comes out ahead. That’s plain and simple. The big thing is, the games keep getting tougher. We can’t play like this tomorrow. Otherwise, we’ll get drilled.”
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