LANGLEY — We’ve gone final in the Super 16 bracket!
Friday’s Final Four now set.
6:15 p.m. — Calgary-St. Mary’s vs. Santa Margarita Catholic
7:45 p.m. — St. George’s vs. St. Patrick’s
QUARTERFINALS (all games at South Court)
TOP HALF DRAW
SANTA MARGARITA 83 SPECTRUM 49
LANGLEY — When Justin Hinrichsen returns to the Langley Events Centre on Friday with the rest of his Spectrum Thunder teammates, you can bet that elbow he took just below his right eye on Thursday is going to have matured into a full-blown badge of courage.
That’s right, the Thunder’s dynamic 6-foot-4 Grade 11 guard is sure to be sporting a shiner, and symbollically the black eye will represent just how tough to handle SoCal’s visiting Santa Margarita Catholic Eagles have been through their first two games of TBI 2023.
“Their defence, they were so aggressive and athletic and long,” said Hinrichsen of Santa Margarita, which improved to 2-0 with an 83-49 TBI quarterfinal win. “It was hard to get to the basket and score.”
The Thunder’s 6-foot-8 Grade 11 forward Tyler Felt led the team with 17, Hinrichsen added 14, and guard J Elijah Helman a further 13 for the Victoria squad, who led 15-11 early but simply could not match weaponry the rest of the way as Santa Margarita punched its ticket to the semifinals against Calgary’s St. Mary’s Saints.
“Credit to Spectrum… I thought their team was prepared and ready to go,” said Eagles head coach Justin Bell. “Obviously the first quarter they gave us a great run, and the teams as we continue to play them are getting better and better. So we have to really dig in and see if we can put in a good four games in four days.”
For Hinrichsen, the wide-angle view of the loss was something he could not ignore as his team battles hard to try and create a championship culture in the sport at a school which has long sat in the shadows of its more powerful and tradition-laden lodge brothers in the South Island hoops community.
“It’s great to play a team from down in the states because I feel all the teams down there are so athletic and comeptitive. It’s just good to see how you compare against them,” Hinrichsen said.
For the second day in a row, Santa Margarita’s greatest strength proved to be the depth, strength and versatility of a legitimate 12-deep rotation.
It’s hard to know which player takes the lead on a game-to-game basis, but the four who did Thursday in Cameron McNamee (20 points), Dallas Washington (17), Brayden Kyman (16) and Drew Anderson (13) have been factors in both of the team’s wins.
Anderson and Kyman are forwards, 6-8 and 6-7 respectively and both are in Grade 10. Washington is a versatile 6-8 ‘centre’ who can play inside out and he’s a Grade 11. McNamee, the Ivy League-bound senior, is a smooth 6-foot-5 guard.
The Thunder could get no closer than 17 points (54-37) in the second half.
CALGARY-ST. MARY’S 98 KELOWNA 89
There is a ‘down but never out’ mentality which has been pervasive within the Kelowna Owls senior boys basketball program under its longtime head coach Harry Parmar.
And when mop-topped point guard Nash Semeniuk knocked down a pair of free throws with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter to put Kelowna on top for the first time all evening, their was the temptation to believe that its mind-over-matter mantra was in fact infalible.
After all, the ways in which the Owls fell behind 21-5 off the opening tip against Calgary’s St. Mary’s Saints before embarking on a long comeback journey to lead 74-73 on those Semeniuk free throws seemed almost too good to be true.
In the end, they were.
Emerson Joy, the Saints’ 6-8 senior post, ran like a gazelle when he had to, scoring the final eight of his 14 points over a one-minute span with under two minutes remaining, foiling any hope of a Kelowna comeback.
Afterwards, Parmar acknowledged his team’s ability to fight back from early adversity, yet he was also the first to admit that the team’s foundational underpinnings have yet to be laid, and until that happens, the Owls will lack the continuity they need to sustain and to win.
“They could have packed it in in the first quarter but they fought back,” Parmar began. “But we don’t play like a team right now. We just stand around and watch.”
The loss sends Kelowna into a cracker of a clash Thursday, 3 p.m. on Centre Court against Spectrum in a battle of B.C. Quad-A Top 10 teams.
From St. Mary’s point of view, the victory was a big moment in the character-building journey of the team.
“I have been playing against that coach and team for many years now and they just work their butts off all the time,” said Saints head coach Vince Marra of Parma and the Owls. “It was pretty special to see (Kelowna) come back but our boys showed composure in the fourth quarter. This moment is so special coming to B.C. and playing so many different teams. Our kids are growing and we love it. Tonight was a great win for our porgram.”
Semeniuk, once again, put his vast array of skills on display, scoring a game-high 37 points which included the manufacturing of 14 free throw trips.
Dominic Sodaro added 23 wile Tarun Saroya added 10 more.
Grade 11 guard Jacob McLellan, sure to be a thorn in the side of B.C.’s university programs for years to come should he elect to pursue a Canada west career, scored 34 points to lead St. Mary’s. Austin Espiritu added 15, while three others — Yel Akol, Talon Nash Weasel Head and Joy — all scored 14 each.
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
No. 6 ST. GEORGE’S 82 vs. No. 3 BURNABY SOUTH 78
LANGLEY — It was a game that was tied at six, 17, 19, 21, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 45, 62, 66, 70, 72 and finally, an overtime-forcing 74-74.
Burnaby South’s biggest lead of seven points (28-21) came midway through the second quarter.
And for victorious St. George’s, its biggest lead of six (82-76) came in the dying stages of overtime on a Dorian Glogovac free throw with 13.4 seconds remaining, capping what was the Saints’ longest run of the game… one of the modest 6-0 variety.
That’s how close it was as the No. 6 Saints edged the No. 3 Rebels for a berth in Friday’s TBI 2023 Super 16 semi-finals.
“What a great second-round game,” said Saints’ head coach Guy da Silva. “I told our guys at the end that getting to play in games like these are the best practices you could have, because if you want to go far, you are going to have these kinds of games. Two great teams and the more experience you get, the better you are for March.”
Burnaby South’s Keoni Sacco appeared to hit the winning bucket in the paint with a mass of defenders covering on him with just a few seconds remaining in the game, but the 74-72 lead was amazingly short-lived as Charlie McConville’s reverse lay-up as time expired sent the game to the extra session.
There, blue-collar senior forward Evan Palmer’s clutch lay-in with about 10 seconds remaining made it 81-76, a score which proved to be enough cushion for the win.
Glogovac, the 6-foot-4 Grade 11 forward, led the Saints with 23 points. Senior forward Kevin Zhong added 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter while McConville had 12 points.
Tyler Cross, the Rebels’ 6-foot-4 Grade 11 forward, was outstanding in logging big minutes after Keoni Sacco ran into early foul trouble. Crossley, a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line, finished with a game-high 26 points.
Grade 12 guard Lordrikk Gutierrez was his usual tough-minded self, finishing with 25 points and he went 10-of-11 from the stripe.
“They are so tough, tough on the point of attack,” said da Silva of Burnaby South. “I thought in the first half our guys were a little bit timid and so I told them at half that we wouldn’t win if (Burnaby South) initiated. But boy, South took it to us early. They are going to be there in it at the end.”
ST. PATRICK’S 74 LORD BYNG 61
LANGLEY — Under the tutelage of head coach Nap Santos, the St. Patrick’s Celtics have won back-to-back B.C. Triple A basketball championships.
That’s about all twice-ringed senior guard/forward Jovin Sunner needs to know, and with marching orders in hand, he helped the No. 2 Celtics into the Friday semifinals of TBI 2023 with a 74-61 win over the No. 1-ranked Lord Byng Grey Ghosts in an all-Vancouver Triple-A heavyweight battle.
“We all have one goal and that is to win a banner,” Sunner stated empahtically. “We will do whatever it takes to win, and coach says ‘defence’, so we do defence.”
That’s a lot easier said than done against a team as talented and connected in all phases of the game as the Grey Ghosts are.
Still, it was hard to miss what Sunner was doing on the offensive end of the floor, scoring 32 points, including 25 between the second and third quarters, a span in which the Celtics built their lead to 20 points heading into the final frame.
“They were leaving me open a bit on the mid-range and that is where my sweet spot is, so I kept on hitting… It was a great team win for us tonight,” he said.
Ryan Garcia added 11 more points for the winners while Ethan Santa Juana and Danny Geppert added nine apiece.
The Celtics led wire to wire.
Marko Radic led the Grey Ghosts with 23 points while Dylan King adsded 12 and Jeffrey Brown 10.
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