LANGLEY —We’ve got all four game reports posted right here.
Enjoy, and remember the Final Four begins with two Select 16 games Friday afternoon at the LEC.
(All games played on Centre Court)
TOP HALF DRAW
2A No. 5 ST. THOMAS MORE 57 4A-HM SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 51
LANGLEY — In basketball, getting into a zone can have multiple meanings.
On Thursday, as TBI 2023 reached its quarterfinal stage, the St. Thomas More Knights found a way to best define both expamples, and in the end salvage a most unexpected victory from the jaws of defeat.
Trailing 48-38 to Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs with about three minutes remaining, Burnaby’s under-sized bravehearts took a cue from head coach Cassie Lauang and assumed the schematic best known as a 2-2-1 zone.
The switch quite literally flipped the game.
With the middle no longer free for opposition penetration, the Knights found the energy to mount a 14-0 run over the final three minutes on its way to a stunning 57-51 victory.
“Going into the 2-2-1 is something we like to use to shake other teams out of their rhythm,” said Luang, “and it certainly did that today. And then, to be honest, we shot really, really bravely… shot some big threes and got some timely steals to get us back in it.”
Back-to-back-to-back thriples by Mackenzie Pagtakhan, Kyla Limon and Mia Beliveau were felt like thunder.
“When we were down, our energy was kind of low and our effort lacking, but after our first big three it pumped up our energy,” admitted STM point guard Demicah Arnaldo who hit four threes of her own and finished with 18 points in the game.
“It changed a lot because Churchill was doing a lot of scheming where the middle cutter would go in and our regular man-to-man defence wasn’t guarding it very well,” she added of the defensive switch.
Lauang said the victory was a significant moment for her program.
“It is huge because it gives them confidence and faith in what we do as a team,” she said. “And it gives them the faith to know that they can make big shots when we’re down.”
Beliveau finished with 13 points, Limon nine and Pagtakhan six.
Louis Dystra led Churchill with 18 points while Crystal Charchuk added 10 more.
St. Thomas More will play in the Select 16 semifinal tipping off 3 p.m. on Friday against the winner of the Walnut Grove-R.A. McMath semifinal.
4A WALNUT GROVE 71 3A No. 10 R.A. MCMATH 36
LANGLEY — Avery Sorenson doesn’t pretend for a second that this season’s Walnut Grove Gators boast the same kind of offensive potential as last season’s B.C. Quad-A runners-up.
Yet one of the team’s few returning seniors is proud to say that the new-look Gators are doing themselves proud despite the loss of a lot of graduating seniors, including the electric Kiera Pemberton.
“We had to definitely rbuild the team… we’re missing 50 points a game,” the 6-foot-2 senior forward to to say with a deadpan delivery following her team’s 71-36 TBI Select 16 quarterfinal win over Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats.
The Gators will now face Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Knights in a 3 p.m. semifinal Friday.
“My, and Kyanna (Knoedel) and Sarah (Cowley) and a whole bunch of other seniors and all of our juniors… we’re having fun with it,” she added.
And having fun is what keeps this team getting better under veteran coach Mike Miller.
The Gators used a 16-1 run in the second quarter to break the game open and never looked back the rest of the way.
Knoedel led the winners with 22 points, Sorenson supplied 16 more, while Cowley and Grade 11 forward Lyla McKay each added 10.
Susu Zhang led the Wildcats with 13 points, including four triples.
The Gators played suffocating interior defence, and afterwards, Sorenson took pride in the team’s work on the boards.
“Everyone had an offensive rebounding game,” she said, “We rebounded and boxed out. Kyanna had so many good drives, Sara was shooting the lights out. It was all a team effort.”
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
2A No. 4 HOLY CROSS 58 4A LORD TWEEDSMUIR 40
LANGLEY — The Holy Cross Crusaders aren’t doing a lot of things to draw attention to themselves here at TBI 2023.
Not a lot except winning their first two games and in the process punching tickets to Friday’s Final Four.
Isla Iannuzzi poured home 21 points while seven of her teammates scored between two and nine points in the Crusaders convincing 58-40 win over Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers.
Solene Jackson scored nine, Alynah Solano eight and Maryam Chaudhry seven.
The Crusaders will now face Abbotsford’s MEI Eagles in a 4:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday.
The Panthers, who found themselves trailing 23-7 early in the second quarter, made some runs but couldn’t get close enough in the second half to make a serious challenge.
Hanna Grewal led the way with 14 points in the loss, while Shaan Sidhu scored 11 and Elena Bartolome a further nine points.
3A No. 4 MEI 75 4A-HM OAK BAY 66
LANGLEY — The MEI Eagles are discovering that their time at TBI 2023 is giving them a great opportunity to discover their true identity as a team.
“Today we played our game,” said Thiessen after Abbotsford’s Eagles topped the Oak Bay Breakers of Victoria 75-66 in quarterfinal play.
“Controlling the ball, taking wide-open shots, and then transitioning and getting the easy ones,” continued Thiessen. “When you do that, what you are going to do is score a lot of points.”
Lola Reimer led the winners with 25 points, Olivia Sidhu scord 20 points for the second straight night, and Mya Buttar added 16 more.
Combined, Reimer (5-of-11) and Buttar (5-for-12) hit 10 threes, a stark contrast to an Eagles’ team which shot 1-for-16 in its narrow round-one win over Vancouver’s Britannia Bruins.
Oak Bay was led by 38 points from the remarkable guard/forward Eden Henderson.
“She scored from everywhere,” marvelled Thiessen of Henderson who was 13-of-13 from the free throw line. “It was long threes, then taking it to the basket.”
The Eagles will face the Holy Cross-Lord Tweedsmuir winner in a 4:30 p.m. semifinal on Friday.
If you’re reading this story or viewing these photos on any website other than one belonging to a university athletic department, it has been taken without appropriate permission. In these challenging times, true journalism will survive only through your dedicated support and loyalty. VarsityLetters.ca and all of its exclusive content has been created to serve B.C.’s high school and university sports community with hard work, integrity and respect. Feel free to drop us a line any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.