Lord Byng's Eli Mullen (left) tries to get a step on Walnut Grove's Hayden Talaba during opening day action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School High School Boys Basketball

TBI SUPER 16 DRAW: Day 1 is complete at the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational and we’ve got all eight game-by-game reports!

LANGLEY — We’ve gone final on Day 1 of the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational.

Here’s all eight game reports with photos.

To insure you haven’t missed a new report across right to the bottom as games are listed to mirror their place in the draw and are not ordered by start times.


(All games at Centre Court)

Eagles’ Drew Anderson lays down a dunk against Byrne Creek during opening day action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre.Photo by Wilson Wong protected image 2023. All Rights Reserved)




LANGLEY — The rest of the field here in TBI’s Super 16 draw got a pretty good indication that if they want to make a dint in the defensive armour of SoCal’s Santa Margarita Catholic Eagles, they best bring their very best offensive games to the Langley Events Centre.

Burnaby’s plucky Byrne Creek Bulldogs can provide testimonials to just such a sentiment after its 83-42 loss to the Eagles capped an entertaining first day here at TBI 2023.

“I thought our defensive energy was pretty good, with good focus and I think we were pretty connected on the defensive end which allowed us to get some offensive buckets,” said Santa Margarita head coach Justin Bell afterwards.

After battling to a hard-earned 14-9 lead after the first quarter, one in which the adrenaline-charged Bulldogs missed countless makeable looks around the basket, the Eagles made some defensive tweaks and played a second quarter in which dominance doesn’t even begin to describe the way they shut down Byrne Creek.

Santa Margarita didn’t allow a point in the frame, while scoring 31 themselves for a 45-9 halftime lead.

Credit Byrne Creek for its unflappable play, however, as they came even harder at the Eagles in the second half.

And while not having to face Santa Margarita’s frontline starters from about the midway mark of the third quarter to the end of the contest, there was still no shortage of talent on a roster filled with sophomores, juniors and seniors.

“They did a great job,” said Bell of the Bulldogs. “I had the pleasure of talking to their coach (Bal Dillon) before the game and we really hit it off. I thought he got his team to play really, really hard which is awesome and he has a couple of good players.”

Those two players — senior guards Atawa Baraba and Justin Pimintuan — combined to score 29 of the Bulldogs’ 42 points.

Baraba, who led his team at half with seven, hit three second-half treys and four on the game to finish with 17. And Pimintuan was the picture of courage, twice injuring his right ankle in hard falls and having to be helped off the floor both times, including the first one in which he was carried off the floor.

Pimintuan had but a pair of made free throws prior to his first injury in the first half, but in the second, he made an amazing return and not only hit two three-pointers, but went inside and created six free throw trips for himself. He finished with 12 points.

Santa Margarita’s Mason Hawker (left) guards Byrne Creek’s Justin Pimintuan during opening day action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre.Photo by Wilson Wong protected image 2023. All Rights Reserved)

“Unfortunately that one kid sprained his ankle at the end, but he hit those threes,” marvelled Bell. “And shoot, they gave us a run early and they came after it ready to go. So much respect to them and their program.”

Santa Margarita’s talents roster was deep and dangerous.

Drew Anderson came off the bench to match Baraba with 17 points, his size, strength and passing ability in the mid-high post a combination the Bulldogs couldn’t contain.

The 6-foot-8 Dallas Washington added 13 while reserve Logan Hirou got extended minutes off the bench and scored 12 points.

Heart-of-the-rotation stalwarts like Jonathan Moxie, Cameron McNamee, Tobias Averill and Brayden Kyman, all of whom started, didn’t figure in the scoring in any huge way, but all played solid, foundational games throughout as depth and match-ups dictated much of the flow.

Nonetheless, Dhillon was pleased with the no-quit attitude of team throughout.

“I want to say I am so proud of every guy that did or didn’t get on the floor,” he said. “The guys just battled, but Atawa and Justin in particular, are two of our leaders… and two of our grade 12s and they bring it every day in practice and games. You get the same effort from them, and I think college coaches would be lucky to have either or both of those guys.”

Only the next two nights will tell if the Eagles will soar to Saturday’s final.

Wednesday’s game, however, meant so much to Byrne Creek in ways not associated with a box score.

“Competition teaches us about ourselves,” said Dillon. “You take every opportunity to learn and when you get an opportunity to play a team like this, then you learn a lot. We took away some things from a technical standpoint, but also from the intangible standpoint.”

Spectrum’s Cadel Johnson (left) is guarded by Elgin Park’s Connor Johnson during Day 1 action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Thursday at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong protected image 2023, All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — Victoria’s Spectrum Thunder are soaking up every second of this young 2023-24 B.C. high school basketball season, and for a team with high expectations, they are not taking anything for granted.

On Wednesday, the Thunder delivered an 84-64 win over the Surrey’s Elgin Park Orcas on Day 1 of the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational behind a 33-point performance from forward Justin Hinrichsen, a 19-point outing from guard Elijah Helman and 15 from forward Tyler Felt.

All three are Grade 11s and for the past couple of seasons, Hinrichsen and Felt have led the charge in helping lift Spectrum into the Vancouver Island spotlight. The pair have added a leadership component this season which is on cue with the evolution of the current Spectrum program.

Falling one win shy of qualifying for the B.C. Quad-A tourney last March, Spectrum played up to its No. 5 provincial ranking, keeping its composure when Elgin Park began to cut into its 32-9 lead.

The Orcas, a team filled with talent and like so many others, ready to reveal its true self over the course of the season, mounted a 23-7 run of its own to pull within 39-32 at the half.

“We said coming in here we were going to show everybody what we were all about,” said Verde. “We were in foul trouble the whole game, but we had guys come in off the bench who played the best defence of their lives.”

What lies ahead for Spectrum?

The Thunder will play the winner of California’s Santa Margarita vs. Byrne Creek opener in its quarterfinal tomorrow.

But every experience, for a group that has not yet experienced the March Madness ride the LEC delivers every March, is being savoured.

“We don’t know the last time Spectrum went to provincials, but our goal isn’t to go to provincials,” he said, “it’s to win it, and we can. We know Oak Bay is ranked No. 1 and they have won eight Islands in a row.,.. that is what we want and I know they know we’re coming for it, and looking forward to playing them soon.”

Dylan Homenick led the Orcas with 25 points while Matix Harrison added 15.

Emerson Joy of Calgary-St. Mary’s towers above a trio of Holy Cross Crusaders during opening day action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Scott Stewart special for Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)



LANGLEY –Listen to Vince Marra talk about putting the pieces back together again, and you might think that re-establishing team identity this early in the season is more than a little elusive.

Especially when you lose seven players, so many of them key, from a Calgary-St. Mary’s team whose campaign ended last season on the final step, with a loss in the Alberta top-tiered Quad-A provincial final.

“We lost seven kids last year, and unfortunately, it’s tough to start so fresh with six or seven new guys, but it’s a great team,” he said. “We’ll keep working hard and see what happens.”

The fact that those comments came on the heels of a decisive 95-69 win over Surrey’s Holy Cross Crusaders in the opening round of TBI on Wednesday evening prhaps speaks to the ceiling of expectation Marra and his staff have already placed given the talent level of these Saints.

If that is the case, it’s pretty high, because there were moments Wednesday when they looked like a well-oiled unit.

St. Mary’s Yel Akol puts down a fourth quarter dunk with authority in the Calgary team’s win over Surrey’s Holy Cross Crusaders during opening day action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Wilson Wong protected image 2023. All Rights Reserved)

Keyed by a game-high 30 points from Grade 11 guard Jacob McLellan, St. Mary’s bolted out to a 24-7 lead off the opening tip and never looked back.

Balanced scoring up and down the roster saw senior guards Josh Joik and Ty Sinclair add 17 and 12 points respectively, while 6-foot-8 senior post Emerson Joy added 12.

Holy Cross got 25 points from its Grade 11 guard Malachi Richmond while senior forward Marko Juan had 13 points and Grade 11 guard Reiner Fajardo a further 11 points.

“We’ve got some length, we’ve got some speed, we love pushing the ball,” said Marra.

Kelowna’s Nash Semeniuk poured home 29 points in a TBI Day 1 win against the Brookswood Bobcats. (Photo by Wilson Wong 2023. Protected image. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — Part of the experience of enjoying a dual-sport high school experience at B.C.’s very top rung of competition are those days when conflicts arise and you end up taking a couple of shots to chops.

That’s what happened last week as the Kelowna Owls senior boys volleyball team rolled to a third straight B.C. senior boys Quad-A volleyball championship.

Four members of the volleyball team were rightfully busy putting a storybook ending on their season, and while that was happening, the senior boys basketball team they were a week away from joining, was tipping off its season at the Heritage Woods Classic invitational in Port Moody.

The Owls hoopers wound up splitting their four games with wins over St. Thomas More and Elgin Park, with losses coming to Handsworth and St. Patrick’s.

On Wednesday, however, as TBI 2023 tipped off, the whole team was finally together, and to tip a hat in the direction it needs to be tipped, those Owls looked like they had been playing together their entire lives.

Which is actually pretty close to the truth. 

“We have been playing for years, I know them from when we were young so right away we just click,” admitted Nash Semeniuk, the team’s star guard and one of the four (along with teammates Dominic Sodaro, Lincoln Walker and Cuyler Hodges) freshly-minted volleyball champs now focussed on nets at either end of the court.

On Wednesday, Semeniuk was again at the heart of the victory, scoring 19 of his game-high 29 points in the opening half on a night in which he did a little bit of everything including hitting a pair of triples and going 9-of-12 from the stripe.

Sodaro added 18 points, Tarun Saroyan had a dozen and Wells Grundy 10.

“It’s what I love,” Semeniuk added of getting the full team back together again for another shot at the provincial title. “I love having my team on the court doing well and we played well today. Let’s see if we can do that again tomorrow and keep it going.”

Logan Stewart led the Bobcats with 18 points, with Jayden Kenyon scoring 16 and Jacob Matiash a further 10. 

St, George’s point guard Dom Acquino (right) tries to shake Terry Fox’s Frank Angeles during opening day action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)




LANGLEY — Dom Acquino is the perfect starting point for the St. George’s Saints.

The Saints’ starting point guard was busy doing his usual thing on Wednesday as his team faced PoCo’s Terry Fox Ravens in a TBI opening-round game, dishing the ball with aplomb and just generally insuring that every part of a deep and dangerous provincial title contender was humming on all cylinders.

Yet plucky Terry Fox’s early energy was not to be dismissed.

So when the Ravens took a 17-15 lead into the second quarter, a new phase of Acquino’s overall player development was keyed into action.

Mr. Passer turned into Mr. Scorer, and as he scored 17 of his game-high 21 in that second quarter he was giving his team an enviable added dimension indeed.

“It’s like heaving another coach on the floor, he has such a great feel of when to get other guys involved,” said St. George’s head coach Guy da Silva. “But what I like most is he looking to be more aggressive as a scorer this year. It makes him so much tougher to guard… and he hasn’t always been like that. He’s too unselfish at times so it’s nice for him to find that balance.”

Kevin Zhong and Kosuke Matsubara added a dozen apiece for the winners.

Matteo Frost led Terry Fox with 11 points while Ethan Chae hit three triples to finish with nine points.

Overall, da Silva was smiling when asked about how supercharged his entire team seems to be, and that’s from start to finish.

“I love our bench energy and support of everyone because guys are really bonding and we are getting a lot of different contributions,” he said, “but still a little sloppy with the turnovers. I like how we are playing together. We have a really deep team and I think that is our strength this year.”

Burnaby South’s Grade 11 standout Lordrikk Gutierrez sinks the final point of his teams TBI opening-round win on Wednesday over Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Dolphins. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — The young and restless Burnaby South Rebels took exception to not being considered among the Top 10 teams to start the B.C. senior boys Quad-A basketball season.

It’s spurred them to some fantastic early results including last weekend’s narrow Kodiak Classic loss to No. 1 Oak Bay.

And it was more of the same Wednesday on the opening day of the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational.

Grade 11s Lordrikk Gutierrez and Keoni Sacco scored 23 and 17 points respectively as the Rebels beat Nanaimo’s long and lean Dover Bay Dolphins 67-60 in a low scoring, physical contest that was about as close to playoff atmosphere as you’re apt to see in December.

In the latest rankings released midday today, the Rebels had climbed all the way to No. 3 in Quad-A.

“These boys are hungry, in junior one came second, one came fifth so they have a lot to prove,” Burnaby South head coach Mike Bell said afterwards of Gutierrez and Sacco respectively and their prior finishes at the B.C. junior championships. “Especially when those (preseason) rankings came out and they were honourable mention. They were a little hungrier. These guys have been great as a team and they really play for each other.”

Dover Bay’s exceptional talent Frank Linder drained a three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer to tie the score 44-44, but in a tight fourth quarter it was. 7-0 Rebels run to begin the final frame that made the difference.

“Ultimately we got the ball inside on their zone,” Bell said of the second-half key. “Their zone extends quite long and they got some long players but we got it inside and took advantage, right? We took advantage of their bigs being in foul trouble. We knew that they couldn’t foul.”

It’s a different Burnaby South team this season, one which is winning without the wide-bodied, big-boned presence that the likes of Karan Aujla and Sasha Vujisic brought.

And when it comes down to playing through those pressure points as underclassmen, Bell admits that he is approaching things somewhat differently.

“It’s a learning experience for some of the 11s getting some of these kinds of minutes, especially on my kind of team,” said Bell. “I normally load the 12s up pretty heavy with their minutes, but getting to play a little more and if they make mistakes actually being able to stay on the game is probably good for their experience “

Linder led the way for Dover Bay with a game-high 29 points while Tarman Sandhu added seven points.

Walnut Grove’s Joey Adams (right) clogs the paint and makes life tough for Lord Byng’s Dylan King during opening day action from the 2023 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2023. All Rights Reserved)



LANGLEY — Eli Mullen knows his Lord Byng Grey Ghosts are about as veteran-laden a group as you’ll find in the upper echelons of B.C. boys high school basketball this season.

And as such, he isn’t into making excuses of any kind, including playing on an inflamed ankle and tipping off in the 8:30 a.m. game on Day 1 of the TBI.

“Especially at 8:30 in the morning… you have to come out here and stay ready,” said Mullin, the Ghosts’ 5-foot-11 point guard. “We can play the same way no matter who we play.”

The core of the 2023-24 Lord Byng team opened the B.C. junior championships up at the same 8:30 a.m. time slot a few seasons back, then last season at TBI, they were also slotted in for the infamous Egg McMuffin game.


“Hey no worries,” Mullin said to a certain tourney organizer who didn’t realize they had the first game at TBI two seasons in a row. “We actually consider it an honour. It’s about being out here on these courts and playing tough teams. Hopefully, we will end up here again in March (for the provincial championships).

Gutsy Walnut Grove trailed by 12 points midway through the fourth quarter but when Gators’ senior forward Joel Kim drained a triple, he had his team ahead 69-68 with 3:25 remaining.

Mullin’s trey with 48.2 seconds remaining in regulation put Byng back on top at 75-73 but the Vancouverites were not able to put the game away in regulation.

Yet in overtime, they took over, finishing the game on a 7-0 run. 

Senior Dylan King helped the winners by scoring 11 of his 19 in second half and overtime. Jeffrey Brown added another 14.

Walnut Grove point guard Josh Owen-Marriott scored a game-high 25 points, while forward Joey Adam’s 24 points included seven three-pointers. Kim  finished with 17 points.

St. Patrick’s boys basketball head coach Nap Santos saw his team put on a defensive clinic in the fourth quarter on Wednesday. (File photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — How do you begin a new season coming off the graduation of the program’s most dynamic player and with back-to-back B.C. titles under your belt?

If you’re the St. Pat’s Celtics, you jump into the deep end without hesitation.

“We had a really tough week last week,” said head coach Nap Santos following his team’s 72-56 win over Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Dragons in the opening round of the TBI at the LEC.

Last week, the Triple-A Celtics split a quartet of games against the heavy thumpers of Quad A, losing to Oak Bay and Tamanawis, but beat Kelowna and Vancouver College.

That trial by fire was ultimately what led to the Celts — who led just 53-50 after three quarters — to draw on their reserves defensively and limit the Dragons to just six points over the final frame.

Santos was confident it has his team playing the way it has to early in the season as it looks to establish a new identity without sublimely talented guard Irish Coquia, this season well established in the main rotation of the NCAA Simon Fraser Red Leafs.

“The intensity in Quad it a little higher and I like that, that is what our guys need to understand so that we can bring that intensity when we play all of these really good teams,” said Santos.

How have they dealt with the loss of Coquia?

“We just have to understand that he is not here anymore and we can’t look for him… we can’t wait for him, we have to do what we have to do, and the guys are playing their roles really well.”

Jovin Sunner led St. Pat’s with 14 points while Ryan Garcia added 11 and Jacob Matabolos 10 for the winners. Ethan Santa Juana hit three threes and finished with nine points.

Inder Deol scored a game-high 18 in the loss for the Dragons while Rohan Dhaka added nine.

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