Semiahmoo's Tara Wallack (left) drives against Janessa Knapp of Langley's Brookswood Bobcats during Sweet 16 action at the 2017 Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Thursday at the Langley Events Centre. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)
Feature High School Girls Basketball

TBI 2017: Round of Sweet 16 announces arrival of some of B.C.’s best young senior varsity girls teams

Welcome to Day 1 of the senior girls varsity Tsumura Basketball Invitational. 

Here’s our look at all eight games from the opening round of Sweet 16.

But first, a schedule of Friday’s championship round quarterfinals:

TOP HALF DRAW

4:45 p.m. — Abbotsford vs. Heritage Woods (south court)

4:45 p.m. — Riverside vs. Lord Tweedsmuir (centre court)

BOTTOM HALF DRAW

3 p.m. — Walnut Grove vs. R.A. McMath (south court)

3 p.m. — Semiahmoo vs. Carson Graham (centre court)

GAME REPORTS

BOTTOM HALF DRAW

SEMIAHMOO 64 BROOKSWOOD 61

LANGLEY — From the ‘Just in case you think you’ve seen everything’ department come Surrey’s Semiahmoo Totems.

The team, fuelled by its uniquely talented Grade 9 core, shocked the veteran-laden Brookswood Bobcats 64-61 in one of eight opening-round Tsumura Basketball Invitational games Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.

Sixty-two of Semiahmoo’s 64 total points came from its Grade 9 players, the large core of which have played together since the fourth grade in the Vancouver Sports Club.

Semiahmoo led by as many as 12 points, 43-31, in the third quarter, then hunkered down to survive a late Brookswood push.

Deja Lee, a guard, led the winners with 20 points, while Tara Wallack, a 5-foot-11 guard/forward added 18 points.

Izzy Forsyth, a 6-foot post, added a further 14 points.

“It’s just another game, but it’s also certainly nice to beat a powerhouse like Brookswood,” said Semiahmoo head coach Allison McNeill, the former Canadian senior women’s national team head coach. “Their program is so well-respected. But it’s early on in the season and we’re all working through things. So I think we’ll put it all into perspective and learn from it.”

Jenna Dick led the Bobcats with a game-high 23 points, while Janessa Knapp added 14.

Carson Graham’s Alex Walker (centre) splits through the defence of the Sullivan Heights Stars on Thursday at the LEC. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

CARSON GRAHAM 57 SULLIVAN HEIGHTS 50

LANGLEY — Emma Kramer started firing in the third quarter and as the rest of her Sullivan Heights Stars dug in on defence to hold the Carson Graham Eagles to only three third-quarter field goals, it looked like the Surrey squad was on it way to major comeback victory.

However North Vancouver’s Eagles used a game-closing 6-0 run to take a seven-point victory, nullifying a mighty 28-11 run by their foes over the second and third quarters.

Kramer, the SFU-bound standout, fired home three treys in the third quarter en route to a game-high 27-point performance.

However Gabrielle Channon’s 15-point performance, along with dual 11-point outings from UBC-bound forward Tanis Metcalfe and teammate Mauvy Allan was enough balance to equal victory.

The Eagles had vaulted out to a 28-11 lead in the second quarter, but the Stars came back to take a 42-40 lead in the third quarter.

The Eagles will face the Semiahmoo Totems in a 3 p.m. quarterfinal on Friday.

Britannia’s Shemaiah Abatayo (left) plays keep-away from Walnut Grove’s Sophia Wisotzki on Thursday in Langley. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

WALNUT GROVE 57 BRITANNIA 38

LANGLEY — The Walnut Grove Gators weren’t dancing about their first round performance Thursday, but according to head coach Darren Rowell, they don’t have a question about the kind of effort they are going to need if they want to get past Friday’s quarterfinal round.

“I like the way they played us, I like the way that they worked,” said Rowell of East Vancouver’s Britannia Bruins. “I didn’t particularly like the way we played.

“We need to show a little more poise because they made us turn it over against their press,” added the coach, “and we didn’t handle their physicality very well.”

The Bruins were challenged to score but did a terrific defensive job on the high-scoring, No. 1-ranked Gators who were led by the 21 points of Jessica Wisotzki, as well as the 12 of Tavia Rowell and teh 11 of Sophia Wisotzki.

The Gators led 21-6 early in second quarter but the Bruins limited them to just 10 points in the second quarter.

McMath’s Abby Zawada powers her way through the defence of the Claremont Spartans on Thursday at the LEC. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

CLAREMONT 68 R.A. MCMATH 60

LANGLEY — A 9-1 game-closing run over a tightly-tested fourth quarter was the difference as Victoria’s Claremont Spartans rolled past Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats.

The Spartans brought early energy and used it effectively to build a 22-8 lead partway through the first quarter, and if not for an explosive third-quarter rally by McMath, the game would have been decided much earlier.

Chloe Scaber’s 19 points led the winners, who also got 15 from Sierra Reisig.

Martha Malaku led McMath with a game-high 22 points while Elizabeth Kennedy with 13 points and Abby Zawada with 11 also hit double figures in the loss.

Heritage Woods’ Rachael Tomlinson tries to keep an even keel while Maddy Gobeil of South Kat pursues during TBI 2017 action Thursday in Langley. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

 

TOP HALF DRAW

HERITAGE WOODS 66 SOUTH KAMLOOPS 53

LANGLEY — Nine first-half three pointers and penchant for playing takeaway on defence helped carry Port Moody’s Heritage Woods Kodiaks to a 66-53 win over the South Kamloops Titans.

The Kodiaks finished with 16 shots from distance, topping the Titans to earn a berth in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

“They were missing kids so full credit to them for playing controlled basketball to stay in the game,” said Heritage Woods head coach Ross Tomlinson.

“But we ran the floor and we executed well against their zone, and our shots went in. We shot it today, but some days it doesn’t happen.”

Jenna Griffin and Rachael Tomlinson each scored a team-high 18 points, with Tomlinson scoring all of her points via six triples.

Griffin, whose defensive play during the game’s most pivotal stages helped change its direction, hit five treys.

“She is a spitfire,” Ross Tomlinson said when asked about Griffin. “She is tough on the ball, she attacks and she shoots the three so well.”

Forward Paige Gant added 12 for the winners.

Maddy Gobeil scored a game-high 20 points while Katherine Walkley added 19.

Among the Titans’ missing was 6-foot-6 forward Olivia Morgan-Cherchas, who was attending a Canada Basketball camp.

Abbotsford’s Lindsey Roufosse (left) and the rest of the Panthers got all they could handle from North Van’s St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

ABBOTSFORD 75 ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 66

LANGLEY — Get ready to hear a lot of news about a first-round loser here at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational.

North Vancouver’s St. Thomas Aquinas Fighting Saints won’t get a chance to play in Saturday’s title finale, but they served notice that they are among the flag-wavers for young up-and-coming teams around the province.

“They had us on our heels for the whole game,” admitted Abbotsford Panthers head coach Prentice Lenz, whose Triple-A preseason No. 1 team had to rally from a 42-35 halftime deficit to beat the core of the team which last March won the B.C. junior girls provincial title. “It’s the kind of game we needed.”

The Panthers are easing Simon Fraser-bound star guard Sienna Lenz back into the lineup following off-season ACL surgery, and while that process continued, it was the performance of guards Sydney Fetterly and Marin Lenz which helped Abby advance to the quarterfinals.

“We’re being patient with it,” coach Prentice Lenz said of increasing his older daughter’s minutes. “This week we’re at 20 minutes, next week it will be 25 with the idea that she will be back to normal in January.”

Marin Lenz led the winners with a game-high 35 points, while Sienna Lenz added 21 points. The pair were a true dynamic duo in the second half combining for 30 points.

Marin Lenz hit a key trey with 3:05 remaining to make it 71-62, and from that stage, the Panthers were not threatened.

Fetterly scored 12 points.

Nontheless, STA head coach John Prescott felt a tough opening-round match-up was just what the doctor ordered for his young charges.

“It was important for us to get a sense of the landscape of senior varsity basketball,” said Prescott. “There is no better experience to see it on the court against a team like Abbotsford which is so well-disciplined, so well-coached and can shoot the basketball like they do.”

Guard Olivia Thorpe led the Fighting Saints with 21 points, while post Gemma Butler added 16 more. Sister and fellow front-court starters Jessica and Rebecca Clarke added nine and eight points respectively.

India Aikins of the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers dribbles through the crosstown traffic of Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham, including Grizzlies Sydney Fraess. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

LORD TWEEDSMUIR 78 G.W. GRAHAM 76

LANGLEY — The Grizzlies may have been without talented forward Deanna Tuchscherer, yet G.W. Graham gave the defending B.C. champion Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers all they could handle.

Senior forward Sydney Fraess scored a game-high 25 points, including 19 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to depose the Panthers, who rallied from 74-73 down late to win a nail-biter.

Shelvin Grewal scored a team-high 20 points for the winners, while Harneet Sidhu scored 16, India Aikins 14 and Grade 9 Alyza Aikins 13.

Guard Jaya Bannerman scored 17 points for the Grizz, while Julia Sprott and Julia Tuchscherer each scored nine points.

Deanna Tuchscherer, the 6-foot-1 Grade 11, was attending a Canada Basketball evaluation camp.

Riverside’s Keimi Cuellar (left) looks to wrap pass around Argyle’s Chlor Walton on Thursday at the LEC. (Varsity Letters photo by Howard Tsumura)

RIVERSIDE 69 ARGYLE 55

LANGLEY — Sammy Shields earned her senior varsity stripes last season as a Grade 8 who didn’t look out of place with her senior varsity teammates.

On Thursday, the Grade 9 sensation with PoCo’s Riverside Rapids looked more ready than ever to begin a dominating season of play.

Shields poured home a game-high 23 points, including five triples, as the Rapids topped North Vancouver’s Argyle Pipers by 14 points.

Tessa Burton with 14 points, and Jessica Parker with another 11, also hit double figures for the Rapids, who rill into a 4:45 p.m. quarterfinal Friday against defending B.C. champion Lord Tweedsmuir.

Simon Fraser-bound Georgia Swant led the Pipers with 22 points, with no other Argyle player hitting double figures on offence.

Riverside led 59-39 heading into the fourth quarter.

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