The final week of the B.C. high school basketball season is now underway with Day 1 of the 2023 B.C, boys basketball championships.
Please check back here throughout the day for continual live game report updates on this tier.
ALL STORIES BY GARY AHUJA (Special for Varsity Letters)
TOP HALF DRAW
NO. 1 UNITY CHRISTIAN 126 NO. 16 SIR ALEXANDER MACKENZIE 47
The two-time defending champion Unity Christian Flames came out hot, scoring the first 35 points as they cruised to a 126-47 win over the Sir Alexander Mackenzie Grizzlies.
The Flames hit 11 triples, with four of those courtesy of Lucas Devisser, who tied for the scoring lead alongside Daxton Vander Kooi as both Grade 12s tallied 17 points.
The Chilliwack school had 14 players score at least one basket in the lopsided victory.
Chandry George-Evans led the Grizzlies with 9 points.
NO. 8 Cedars Christian 44 NO. 9 ST. ANN’S ACADEMY 40
After scoring just one basket in the first 10 minutes and only 11 at the half, the Cedars Christian Eagles used a second-half rally to advance to the quarter-final round.
Last year’s bronze medallists found themselves trailing 24-11 to the St. Ann’s Academy Crusaders before busting out of their offensive doldrums, cutting the lead to a point with a period to play and then scoring 11 of the final 14 points for the 44-40 victory.
Andrew Isaac (11 points) and Liam Tiefensee (10 points) led the Eagles while Aidan Sethan scored 20 for the Crusaders.
Next up for the North Central champs from Prince George will be the daunting task of facing the two-time (2020, 2022) defending 1A champions from Chilliwack, the Unity Christian Flames.
NO. 4 NANAIMO CHRISTIAN 90 NO. 13 REGENT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 60
Last year’s tournament leading scorer picked up where he left off last March.
Jackson Tonsi drained five tripled in the opening quarter on his way to a 35-point performance as the No. 4 Nanaimo Christian Trail Blazers opened with a 90-60 over the Regent Christian Academy Royals.
Tonsi averaged 35.25 points per game in 2022 – with 21 3-pointers – in leading the Trail Blazers to a ninth-place finish. But Wednesday’s victory ensures the Nanaimo school its first-ever top-8 finish.
The team’s opening-round win saw Tonsi – a Grade 11 guard – and Grade 12 6-9 forward Calvin Vanderkooi lead the way with Tonsi’s 35 points and Vanderkooi’s 23 pace the attack.
Eduard Zaveldi was tops for the Royals with 23 points.
NO. 5 ST. JOHN’S 84 NO. 12 NORTHSIDE CHRISTIAN 58
Grade 10 guard Vic Anderson-Francois dropped a 34-point game as his fifth-ranked St. John’s Eagles were no match for the Northside Christian Northstars.
Anderson Francois had 22 of his points in the first half as the Eagles led from start to finish, leading by double digits for nearly the entire final 20 minutes in an 84-58 win over their Vanderhoof opponent. While Anderson-Francois did the heavy lifting, Grade 11 guard Louius Lin was second on the team with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
Caleb Giesbrecht (18 points), Graham Yoder (15 points) and Derek Giesbrecht (12 points) led Northside Christian.
Up next for St. John’s is a quarter-final clash against No. 4 Nanaimo Christian.
NO. 6 DEER LAKE 77 NO. 13 GOLDEN 40
In their fifth appearance at the 1A Tournament, Burnaby’s Deer Lake Falcons have advanced to the winner’s side of the bracket for the first time.
The Falcons found themselves trailing by a point in the first quarter before closing on a 19-0 run in what became a 77-40 win over the Golden Eagles Deer Lake’s Jason Mvundura – a 6-1 Grade 11 forward – had a game-high 20 points, with 16 of those coming in the opening 10 minutes.
Golden – the Kootenay champion making their first appearance at the 1A Tournament since 2018 and just second overall – received a dozen points from Grade 10 guard Jacob Tetrault.
Up next for the Falcons is a quarter-final game against the third-seed Aberdeen Hall Gryphons.
3 ABERDEEN HALL 92 NO. 14 UCLUELET 52
Tied at 12 midway through the first quarter, the Aberdeen Hall Gryphons used a 21-3 run to blow open the game against the Ucluelet Warriors.
Leading the way was Kyler Assam as he overcame a slow start – just one basket in the opening 10 minutes – to finish with 38 points as the Thompson-Okanagan champions crushed the Warriors 92-52. Eighteen of his points came in the second quarter where the Gryphons outscored Ucluelet 25-9.
Anthony Robinson was the top scorer for the Warriors with 22 points.
The victory sets up Aberdeen Hall with a quarter-final game against Deer Lake.
10 BROOKES WESTSHORE 53 NO. 7 GIDGALANG KUUYAS NAAY 41
The Brookes Westshore Gryphons clamped down defensively in the fourth quarter as they defeated the Gidgalang Kuuyas Naay Breakers 53-41.
The Gryphons never trailed,but couldn’t aside from a 11-point lead early in the second quarter, the Breakers continued to keep it within a handful of points before Brookes Westshore opened the final period on a 6-0 spurt.
And it was a balanced attack for the Victoria school with three players in double figures, led by Alex Buhr’s 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Levi Burton scored 11 to top all Breakers’ scorers.
2 KING DAVID 88 NO. 15 SIMILKAMEEN 58
The King David Lions built an early lead and never looked back, crushing the Similkameen Sparks 88-58 in the final game of Day 1.
Arel Steen was the game’s top scorer with 25 points as he was one of five Lions to reach double figures in the victory as Joseph Gabay and Ari Altow each had 13, Ezra Heayie scored a dozen and Kristian Galazka finished with 10 for the Vancouver Sea-to-Sky champs.
The Sparks, the third team out of the Thompson-Okanagan zone, received 17 points from Nate Weber, 16 from Darion Eustache-Peone and 15 from Ethan Potash. All three are Grade 11s on the squad.
King David moves onto play Brookes Westshore in the quarter-final round.
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