Here is our wrap of the opening round of the 3A and 4A round Telus BC championships.
We will be back at work tomorrow! Thanks to both Dan Kinvig of UFV and Wilson Wong of UBC for their unwavering support.
KELOWNA 106 NORTH PEACE 49
LANGLEY — Five Owls hit double figures on offence as No. 2-seeded Kelowna toppled the North Peace Oscars of Ft. John.
Kelowna led 31-4 at the end of the first quarter behind 17 points from Mason Bourcier, 15 from Matt Williamson and 12 from Juan Carlos de Alba.
Tanner Sandberg and Lorenzo Petrucci scored 14 apiece in the loss for the Oscars.
HOLY CROSS 58 BELMONT 47
LANGLEY — Holy Cross head coach Anthony Pezzente was confident the dam would eventually break, but the Belmont Bulldogs had other plans for the first three quarters of their opening round game Wednesday at the LEC.
The Vancouver Island runner-up Bulldogs took a 41-36 lead into the fourth quarter, and despite all of the Crusaders attempts to crack them with their pressure, you were starting to think that maybe Wednesday was not going to end well for the tourney’s No. 5 seeds from Surrey.
Then, the figurative dam did break.
The Crusaders outscored Belmont 22-6 over the fourth quarter to claim victory, and afterwards, Pezzente said his team was never going to waver.
“They sucked it up, our pressure was relentless,” said Pezzente. “We played our game and we got to them. Wow could have folded but we didn’t. That’s what this team does. And eventually it works. Today it came in the fourth. It would have been a lot more stressful if it had happened earlier.”
The balanced Crusaders’ attack wears led by the 15 points of Uyi Ologhola, 13 from Gabe Takeawoa, 12 from Marcus Garcia and 10 from Michael Risi.
Belmont, which led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, got a game-high 19 points from Nishad Tarak and 16 from star football lineman Dontae Bull.
OAK BAY 92 PINETREE 64
LANGLEY –Victoria’s Oak Bay Bays may have beaten Coquitlam’s Pinetree Timbeerwolves by 28 points, but it took a little too long for the liking of the tournament’s No. 3 seed before they could run away from the upstart foes from Coquitlam.
Before Bays’ guard Jaden Touchie ripped the ball out of the hands of a Pinetree player and went 80 feet down the court for a successful and-one layup with 1:32 left in the third quarter, the Timberwolves were within 10 points and showing signs that they might still have another run in them.
Oak Bay’s defence, however, had other ideas.
“I thought the guys played much better D in the second half,” said Oak Bay head coach Chris Franklin. “In the first half they had nerves and we were chasing the game. Their No. 17 (Armon Taef) hit some nice shots, but the boys kept their composure and got back to the way we play and took control.”
Added Touchie: “We just had to guard. We weren’t guarding very well in the first half. We’re just trying to get to finals. There’s no pressure. You just have to play.”
Diego Maffia hit five treys and scored a game-high 23 points, Caelan Scott hit four triples and scored 18 points, the same total Touchie totalled while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing six assists.
Taef led Pinetree with 22 points, Landon Hiney added 18 and Maban Teny 10 in the loss for Pinetree.
KITSILANO 78 SEMIAHMOO 69
LANGLEY — Games aren’t won in the first quarter, but sometimes cushions can be created and in the end provide enough of a margin for when the going gets tough.
After surviving sudden-elimination at the Lower Mainland championship with a win over Burnaby South, the No. 8 seed Kitsilano Blue Demons came out Wednesday with great focus in their opening round clash with the No. 9 Semiahmoo Totems.
The Blue Demons built a 16-point lead after the first quarter, then hunkered down in a game of runs, eventually surviving 78-69 and getting a chance Thursday to face the No. 1 Walnut Grove Gators in the quarterfinals.
“Today was about weathering the storm,” said Blue Demons head coach Sylvester Noel. “(Semiahmoo) came back. They have nice pieces. Good shooters. They’re disciplined. We knew we had to be smart.”
When the Totems’ super-talent Brian Wallack made a perfect behind-the-back pass under the basket to teammate Adam Paige for a lay-up, Semiahmoo had pulled to within 44-40 early in the third quarter.
They appeared to have the momentum based on their strong second-half finish.
But the Blue Demons kept finding ways to maintain a slight cushion until the game hit its stretch drive.
That’s when, with 3:40 remaining, Tyrone Asenoguan hit a three-pointer for a 71-62 lead. It was a swing Semiahmoo wasn’t able to recover from.
“It’s always tough the first game, to get used to the rims here,” said Kits point guard Luka Lizdek who shot 13-of-26 from the field and finished with a game-high 29 points. “We kept going and we played as a team.”
Asenoguan finished with 20, Yannick Douguet added 14.
Wallack led three Semiahmoo players in double figures with 22 points. Vlad Mihaila added 21 and forward Adam Paige 16.
Now, the Blue Demons prepare for Walnut Grove, the team they lost to by seven points Jan. 3 in Langley, and then lost to in double overtime later that same week at the Terry Fox Legal Beagle Invitational.
“It’s going to be a tough one,” said Noel. “We match up well, but they are a very good team. So we’re going to come and fight. We respect them so much. But to win a championship, you can’t get upset about seedings and things like that. You have to beat any team. It’s a hard second round but we got to go win.”
Added Lizdek: “We’re trying to prove something. We don’t care what seed were are. We can play with them but we have to play our own game.”
VANCOUVER COLLEGE 89 YALE 81
LANGLEY — Call it the bracket-buster that almost was.
Abbotsford’s No. 13-seeded Yale Lions led by as many as 19 points (39-20) in the late stages of the first half, but No. 4-seeded Lower Mainland champion Vancouver College came storming back, putting together a 17-5 run to the break and later scoring 33 points in the fourth quarter to usurp the the Lions and advance in the bracket.
Yale head coach Euan Roberts, upset with the officials calls down the stretch drive, protested vehemently and was ejected from the game with under two minutes remaining.
Vancouver College’s offensive flurry produced four double-digit scorers. Jack Cruz-Dumont led the way with 22 points, Cam Wright scored 21, Jovanic Castillo added 19 points and Sam Bailey 17 to go along with 17 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and three steals.
Noah Nickel’s game-high 30 points and Bradley Braich’s 27 led Yale, as the Grade 11 duo took 55 of the team’s 87 shots from the field.
ST. GEORGE’S 89 LORD TWEEDSMUIR 56
LANGLEY — Bill Disbrow has been around enough teams to know when he sees real ‘game’ faces in the pre-game.
He saw them Wednesday in the moments before his St. George’s Saints took to the court and overwhelmed Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers.
“It was a wonderful start,” relayed Disbrow after his team’s 89-56 win. “I said to them at the end of the first quarter that they couldn’t have started any better. They were so focused. You look around the change room and you just know. I knew they were in trouble.”
St. George’s simply rolled over the Panthers.
Tips, offensive rebounds, loose balls, you name it, they simply outworked their foes from Surrey and watched as their lead ballooned to as many as 33 points.
Saints were led by the 20 points and 15 rebounds of their big man, Jacob van Santen.
Jamie Ratliff added 18 in the win, Roberto Mazzone 11 with 12 rebounds, and Louis Sujir with 10.
Dylan Kinley scored a game high 22 for Tweedsmjuir while Gavin Gill added eight points.
“We have faced major struggles this season, but these kids listen and they believe,” said Disbrow.
WALNUT GROVE 116 MT. BAKER 34
LANGLEY — The No. 1-ranked Gators put up 40 points in the opening quarter and never looked back en route to a comfortable win over the Kootenay champs from Cranbrook.
Seven Gators hit double figures on offence led by forward Andrew Goertzen who had 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting and was called for a tech after he hung on the rim a little too long.
Guard James Woods added 15.
Sebastian Butler led Mt. Baker with nine points.
W.J. MOUAT 60 HANDSWORTH 55
LANGLEY — Kenan Hadzovic is healthy, and as W.J. Mouat head coach Rich Ralston said, “playing like the spiritual leader of our team.”
The Hawks’ senior guard poured home a game-high 21 points Wednesday as No. 6-seeded Mouat gutted out a 60-55 win over the No. 11-seeded Handsworth Royals of North Vancouver in the opening-round game of the Telus B.C. senior boys Quad A basketball championships at the Langley Events Centre.
“I knew Handsworth was a very good team, they always have that intense North Shore playoff to get to the B.C.’s,” acknowledged Ralston. “They are young like us, and I thought we gutted one out.
“It wasn’t pretty, it’s that 8:30 (a.m.) game and the guys wanted it a lot.”
Last year, he played through the entire tournament injured.
“The whole right side of my hand was broken,” said Hadzovic, “and I had a sprained ankle. It was tough but we pulled through OK (Final Four) and hopefully we can do that again.”
Hadzovic’s amazing dribble-drive game, built on control at the highest tempo, allowed him to penetrate and draw an and-one opportunity with 2:45 remaining.
Although he missed the free throw, he put the Hawks ahead 52-48.
Handsworth’s Stanley Choo hit a trey with 2:25 remaining to make it 52-51, but Mouat’s Sukhi Kang answered right back with one of his own to re-store the lead at 55-51.
Mouat was clutch down the stretch, hitting five of its last six free throws to ultimately win the game.
“I think it was our play on the defensive end that was big for us,” said Hadzovic. “They out-rebounded us on the offensive end, but we stuck together.”
Indeed Handsworth had 19 offensive rebounds on the same glass that Mouat at 23 defensive caroms, a total that showed just how dominant the North Vancouver school was underneath.
Yet the official box-score had the Hawks winning the second-chance points battle 10-6.
Ralston, for his part, was happy that Hadzovic’s return to health would be able to show his game at its full potential.
“Slashing is a real strength of his game and now that he is fully healthy, he can really show what he is all about.”
Hadzovic also had 10 rebounds, Kang had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while Zach Plummer had nine points.
Grant led the Royals with 16 points and eight rebounds, Stanley Choo added 12 and Josh Butler eight.
The Royals largest lead was six points, the Hawks largest nine points.
ROBERT BATEMAN 72 NANAIMO DISTRICT 58
LANGLEY — Nate Friesen’s 28 points, including a 7-of-8 performance from the free throw line help carry Abbotsford’s Timberwolves to a win over the Islanders.
Scoring two points above his season average, Friesen was joined in the team’s scoring parade by 6-foot-7 forward Greg Poirier who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Anders Cederberg led the Isles with 19 points while Winston Gardiner added 12.
ST. THOMAS MORE 71 WELLINGTON 53
LANGLEY — Burnaby’s Knights led wire-to-wire, building on its 11-point halftime leadby shooting 42 per cent from the field over the second half.
Cameron Morris, STM’s UBC-bound guard, led the winners witha game-high 21 points, hitting three triples and also grabbing six rebounds.
The Knights’ 16 offensive rebounds helped them score 11 second-chance points, while its interior defence allowed Courtenay’s just one second-chance bucket on the night.
Liam Feenan scored 14 points and grabbed secen rebounds and together, STM’s two double-figure scorers 14-of-22 from the field.
Alex Staniforth led Mark Isfeld with 19 points while Brooks Branchi added 14.
Steveston-London 80, Mark Isfeld 53
(This report courtesy of Dan Kinvig is exclusive to Varsity Letters)
After coming within a whisker of a provincial title last season, Fardaws Aimaq and the Steveston-London Sharks are hoping thatWednesday’s opening-round win over the Mark Isfeld Ice is the first step on a journey that ends with that elusive 3A gold medal around their necks.
“We’ve been talking about this all year, man,” said Aimaq, the Sharks’ towering 6’10” centre, in the aftermath of an 80-53 victory. “This week is probably the biggest week, for some of us, in our high school experience. Our team is super-excited, and hopefully we’re playing Saturday night.”
The Ice hung tough for the better part of two quarters, but the Sharks went on a run late in the second to take a 43-27 lead into halftime and they kept the Courtenay squad at bay from there.
If there’s a more physically imposing player than Aimaq competing in any of the four tiers at the Langley Events Centre this week, we have yet to find him. His night’s work on Wednesday? A tidy 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He was an intimidating presence in the middle of the Sharks’ 1-3-1 zone, and showed a particular flair for firing long outlet passes to kick-start Steveston-London’s fast break.
Fellow senior Zach Cantwell racked up 20 points for the No. 4-seeded Sharks, and Ahmed Mohamud notched 15.
The No. 13 Ice, who don’t have a player taller than 6’3” on the roster, were led by Logan Benninger (five three-pointers to account for all of his 15 points) and Thaskani Mtawali (14 points).
“Every time we’d score, they’d score,” Isfeld coach Tom Elwood noted afterward. “You can’t win games like that – you’ve got to get a score and a stop. All we did was try to trade baskets, but they’re too good to trade baskets.”
Steveston-London dropped a 78-71 decision to the Southridge Storm in last season’s 3A title tilt, and head coach Mike Stoneburgh said his squad is laser-focused coming into this year’s provincials.
“A couple of the kids said a couple days ago, they’re not losing this tournament,” Stoneburgh said. “The (Grade) 12s want this bad – everybody does, but the 12s especially because they were there for the loss.
“Tonight was a good step for us – you’ve got to get over the hump of winning the first one.”
LORD BYNG 67 CHARLES HAYS 58
LANGLEY — Dialling from distance has not been the strong suit this season for Vancouver’s Grey Ghosts but point guard Peter Chae picked the perfect time to show that it’s not totally out of character.
Chae hit back-to-back three-pointers and later added another bucket during a critical late stretch to provide all the separation the Ghosts needed to hold off a strong and determined Rainmakers squad.
Meanwhile, post Declan Herbertson provide the inside muscle and touch, setting up an Elite 8 quarterfinal matchup Thursday.
“All year the thing for us is, if we can hit shots we become a difficult team to play because there is so much attention paid to the inside,” said Byng head coach Kevin Sander. “I thought Declan carried us in the first half and Peter got us some offence to get us up to about a 10-or-11 point lead. I think our zone affected them. It might have got to their shooters, and that is a good team. I know one of their better players (Liam McChesney) was hurt and couldn’t play in the second half.”
Herbertson took on an even bigger role, the 6-foot-7 senior becoming the focus of the Rainmakers’ attention after 6-foot-8 senior forward Nathan Bromige was forced to sit with foul issues.
Chae led the winners with 19 points, Bromige supplied 16, Herbertson 12 and Peter Gibbons 11 on 5-of-7 shooting.
Quinn Leighton scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Charles Hays, playing a tough game as an under-sized forward against Herbertson. Donte Stephens came off the bench to score 16 and also grab seven rebounds.
“We knew this was going to be a fight so luckily we got off to a good start because that is something we have struggled with lately,” said Sandher, whose team only scored six points in the second quarter.
Sandher singled out guard Dexter MacDonald’s performance as a defensive presence.
The Grey Ghosts have played Byrne Creek eight times over the past two seasons, including twice this season. The teams split those meetings. Lord Byng rallied from 30 points down in the Lower Mainland semifinals to pull within two before losing.
SOUTH KAMLOOPS 79 BROOKSWOOD 49
A stifling defence by the Okanagan champions proved too much for the Brookswood Bobcats, making their return to the tournament for the first time since 2006.
The Titans, who led by 43 points with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter, held the Bobcats to just nine field goals over the second half of play.
Nick Sarai led the Titans with a game-high 25 points while Quin Adams scored 14 points, Ripley Martin 13 and Reid Jansen added 11 as the Titans move on a date in the quarterfinals Thursday at 6:45 against either Robert Bateman or Nanaimo District.
Brandon Aherns led Brookswood with 10 points.
BODWELL 68 MAPLE RIDGE 58
The Bruins used a productive 25-point third quarter and deep bench to create the cushion they needed to top the defensive minded Ramblers by 10 points.
Yagiz Torer led the winners with 19 points, Canbrek Gungor added 17 and Pedro Zaparoli had 14 and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Burke Brussow had 21 points to lead Maple Ridge. Will Chartrand had 17 and Tristan Coumont added 16 in the loss.
Bodwell outscored Maple Ridge’s bench 20-0.
BYRNE CREEK 77 DUCHESS PARK 58
LANGLEY — Five players hit double figures on offence as Lower Mainland champion Byrne Creek of Burnaby rolled to a 77-58 win over Prince George’s Duchess Park Condors.
Sufi Ahmed led the winners with 19 points, Bithow Wan added 15, Martin Djunga 12 and both Abdul Bangura and Tyril Whitebear with 10 apiece.
Colburn Pearce led the Condors with 16 points, Soren Erricson added 12 and Malcolm MacDonald 11.
Duchess Park was tough over the first half, slowing the Bulldogs’ favoured uptempo pace and trailing just 31-29 at the half.
Burt Byrne Creek built their lead to 12 heading into the fourth.
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