LANGLEY — They aren’t as recognized as their fellow senior Bruins Surprise Munie and Shemaiah Abatayo, yet you could almost say that Britannia’s emerging frontcourt duo of Tiana Sacco and Lagi Vaa hold a big key to the ultimate versatility and fortunes of East Vancouver’s finest.
On Friday, Double-A No. 3 Britannia paved it’s path to tonight’s TBI 2019 Final Four with an inventive 81-54 win over Abbotsford’s Quad-A No. 7-ranked Yale Lions, not only counting on Munie’s punishing brand of dribble-drive attack, but on the nuance of a high-low game courtesy Sacco and Vaa.
That and a timely second-half switch to a zone defence was enough to turn a 34-32 Lions’ halftime lead into a convincing victory that puts Britannia within a win of appearing in Saturday’s championship final.
The Bruins will be attempting to knock off their third straight Top 10 Quad-A team when they face the top tier’s No. 8-ranked Kelowna Owls at 8:15 p.m.
“You never know what’s going to happen because they are really good three-point shooters,” Bruins’ head coach Mike Evans said of Yale, and the opportunity the switch to the zone would suddenly afford the Lions.
“It makes you think ‘Wait a minute, is using a zone kind of like suicide?”
Yet Yale’s offence came to a virtual halt.
The Lions managed to make just seven shots from the field over the second half, including three triples by the unflappable Neelam Rai, the sharpshooter who finished with a team-high 22 points and seven makes from distance.
Meanwhile, while Munie poured home a game-high 25 points, and Abatayo added 19 more, the depth of the offence revealed a team far greater than just it’s two stars.
Guard Jewel Leeson feasted on what was available with great ball movement and multiple available threats, scoring 14 points and hitting four treys.
And in that high-low, the twin-post attack saw Vaa score 11 points and Sacco eight more.
Afterwards, Munie loved what the defensive switch accomplished, both from the traction it gave the team on the scoreboard, and the confidence it brought to the squad’s younger players.
“Our defence was definitely the key,” said Munie, the Simon Fraser signee. “We didn’t match-up well in the first half because they had all guards and we had post players, and they are a shooting team and we are not. So just seeing the switch (to zone), for our young players, was a confidence booster for them, knowing that they were all a part of it.”
Julie Dueck added 13 points for the Lions while Kyleigh Boldt added nine.
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