Fleetwood Park's Isaiah Young extends for two of his 20 points against Jason Dadural and the rest of the Steveston London Sharks on Wednesday as the Tsumura Basketball Invitational opened at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

DAY 1 FINAL: Tsumura Basketball 2021: Four Sweet 16 tickets punched! Byrne Creek tops GWG Grizz in OT thriller, Tammy outlasts Sands, plus STM and Fleetwood win early games!

Welcome to Day 1 of the 2021 Tsumura Basketball Invitational.

This is our final edition with wrap-ups on all four games played tonight at the Langley Events Centre including Byrne Creek’s OT win over GW Graham. It’s all below. First, tomorrow’s draw.



6:15 p.m. — Burnaby South vs. Byrne Creek (centre court)

8 p.m. — Centennial vs. Claremont (centre court)


4:45 p.m. — Sir Winston Churchill vs. Tamanawis (south court)

8 p.m. — Abbotsford vs. Duchess Park (south court)



6:15 p.m. — Lord Tweedsmuir vs. Fleetwood Park (south court)

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


4:45 p.m. — Yale vs. St. Thomas More (centre court)

3 p.m. — King George vs. R.A. McMath (centre court)


LANGLEY — How surprised were Byrne Creek Bulldogs head coach Bal Dhillon and G.W. Graham head coach Jake Mouritzen that their respective teams went to overtime against each other on Wednesday night to decide a victor in round one of the Tsumura Basketball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre?

How about not in the slightest.

Even after COVID wiped out the entire 2020-21 season the two coaches couldn’t help but remember their last meeting, on Jan. 31 of 2020 in the quarterfinals of the Bateman Invitational in Abbotsford when the Bulldogs went to triple overtime to dispatch the Grizzlies 135-128.

“We always play great games against each other,” said Mourtizen, eluding to not only to the clash at Bateman, but another that same season at the STM Chancellor. “Bal and I love playing against each other.”

And on Wednesday, two years later, it was with an entirely different cast of characters… on both sides.

The Bulldogs’ new trio was sizzling from start to finish. Grade 11s Richard Moses and Mamadee Jawara, along with senior transfer Marcell Sherwood were outstanding.

Moses and Jawara each scored 21 points, while Sherwood, who missed the entire third quarter with foul trouble, had 18 more, including back-to-back dunks in the first half of the spectacular variety.

Jared Hall, the Grizzlies’ senior point guard, scored a game-high 24 points, Keegan Dunn scored 12 points, Brodie Janzen 11 and Caden Switzer 10. Hall and Dunn each hit three triples.

McArthur Hilton of Byrne Creek faces the tough defence of Brody Janzen (left) and the rest of the GW Graham Grizzlies as the Tsumura Basketball Invitational opened at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)

After a Sherwood reverse lay-in with 41 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 68-64 lead, Hall hit a three, and then one-of-two free throws over the final 19 seconds to sent the game to overtime tied 68-68.

Byrne Creek then limited G.W. Graham to no makes from the field in the three-minute overtime, meaning Moses’ back-to-back buckets in the opening minute of the extra session for a 72-68 lead, ultimately decided the game.

When asked if Sherwood, Moses and Jawara could be amongst the best trios he has coached at the school, Dhillon, who has a lot of depth on the team this season as well which could rise up and join that bunch, smiled hopefully.

“I would like to think so and and having Bobby here too would have been great but he’s in West Virginia,” Dhillon said of Bobby Mabeny, the current Grade 12 who is playing at a prep school down south and scored 47 points in that prior triple-OT win over the Grizzlies.

“I think that that trio can really grow… they are right there,” said Dhillon whose team faces AAAA No. 1 Burnaby South at 6:15 p.m. Thursday in the round of 16.

Mouritzen just wants his players to keep getting good competition early in the season.

“That was the first real basketball game our kids have played because most of them played their last games as juniors,” said Mourtizen, whose team faces the Sands Scorpions of North Delta in a 1:30 p.m. consolation round game. “We’re also missing some of our football guys still. So I like where we’re at. We need a whole bunch of games like this, and that’s why we love coming to this tournament.”

Harjap Samra (left) of the Tamanawis Wildcats does his best to slow the progress of Mattias Rodriguez of the Sands Scorpions during Tsumura Basketball Invitational action Wednesday at the LEC. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — North Delta’s Sands Scorpions brought every inch of their collective heart to the Tsumura Basketball Invitational on Wednesday.

In the end, it wasn’t enough to pull off a monumental upset of Surrey’s Tamanawis Wildcats, yet as Tammy head coach Manny Dulay admitted afterwards, the Scorpions’ first-ever game at the Langley Events Centre deserved a tip of the cap despite the fact it wound up as an 80-45 loss.

When Sands’ Grade 10 guard Brandon Dela Cruz got a steal and went coast-to-coast for a layup with 1:56 remaining in first half, the Scorpions were locked in a 23-23 tie with the Wildcats.

And with 23 seconds left in the half, trailing 27-26, Sands’ Gursewak Dhanjal had the opportunity to put his team on top at the break, but was unable to hit either of his attempts from the stripe.

For 20 minutes, a team with no provincial basketball pedigree was hanging tough with the big kid on the Sur-Del block.

“They definitely had a few guards that were going off and they looked like scorers,” said Dulay. “They were hitting their shots, and in the second half, when we stopped that, it ruined their momentum. But they were doing well in the first half. They definitely shocked me.”

Yet the Scorpions, who trailed just 29-26 at the half, were outscored 51-19 the rest of the way.

“They were hitting some timely shot, I give them that,” added Dulay of the Scorpions who got 18 points from Rohan Johal and 10 from Mattias Rodriguez.

“And then the big thing for us, we were getting great looks but not capitalizing, and that kind of ruined our defence. It set a tone for us, and the score kind of resembled it.

Yet Dulay was still happy his team was put in that situation because it sends an early message that teams will make you battle for wins, whatever way that might be.

“I am already losing my voice and it’s only two games into the season,” he added. “I think the big thing is we’re young and inexperienced, and we need to play these types of games. It’s why I am happy we are here. I know stuff like this is going to happen, so I am expecting it a little bit.”

Max Chia led the Wildcats with 20 points, Ranvir Sanghera added 13 and Gurpreet Dodd 12.

Tamanawis moves on to a 4:45 p.m. Sweet 16 game Thursday against Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs.

Sands will get all it can handle in a 1:30 p.m. clash with Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies.


Langley — Sir Charles Tupper came out with an aggressive zone press which generated turnovers galore and led the Tigers to an early 11-2 lead.

Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Knights, however, kept their poise and responded with a comeback surge en route to an 85-76 win.

For Knights’ head coach Aaron Mitchell, whose team had dropped its season opener last week to the Terry Fox Ravens, it was a contest filled with affirming moments.

“A lot of guys came off the bench and contributed for us tonight and that was important for us,” said Mitchell. “We need to understand that if we play with composure and we move the ball, that good things can happen.

The Knights started an all-Grade 11 group, yet as Mitchell stressed, the team’s depth played a role in its ability to rally.

Leading the way for STM with 25 points was 6-foot-1 Grade 12 guard Tristan Schianni, part of that bench unit.

Schianni’s ability thrive on the fast break was impressive, as was his ability to break down defences in the half court. To top it all off, he was consistently able to draw contact and get to the free throw line.

“He didn’t play much in Grade 9 or Grade 10 and then we had Grade 11 off, so credit to him because he’s worked at it,” said Mitchell.

St. Thomas More’s Chris Ainsley is surrounded by Tupper’s Oscar Hill (left) and Silas Hussey (9) during opening-round action at TBI 2021 on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)

All the same, Mitchell was happy with the win but stressed the importance of continuing to work on team play and on defence.

“What did we score tonight?” he asked. “Eighty-five points? That’s not us. It’s not an individual thing. We really need to work on the other end.”

Charles Tupper head coach James Lum had brought his Tigers in with a 3-0 record to start the season and despite the loss just wanted his team to learn some lessons moving forward.

“Today they made the adjustments and we didn’t, and they are so well-coached,” said Lum, whose team was led by the likes of guards Finlay Chow-White and Oscar Hill and forward Silas Hussey. “We are just looking to get better every game.”

The Knights move on to face Abbotsford’s Yale Lions in the round of 16 on Thursday (4:45 p.m.) while Tupper meets Steveston-London on the consolation side of the draw Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

Steveston-London’s Vincent Zeng dishes under pressure against Fleetwood Park on Wednesday at the TBI in Langley. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)


LANGLEY — There were moments over the majority of the first half where all Fleetwood Park head coach Jordan Taylor could do was shrug his shoulders and wonder what had to happen for his team to score from the field.

The Dragons missed their first 15 field goal attempts and when senior guard Allen Landasan finally broke the dry spell there were just over four minutes remaining in the opening frame.

Yet behind the dual 20-point performances of guard Isaiah Young and forward Eesher Sarai, the Dragons eventually found their fire, gaining just enough cushion to hold off a smaller but determined crew of Steveston-London Sharks.

“They were a little jacked up early so we had to take our time,” said Taylor of his team, who got 20 points apiece from the senior Young and the Grade 11 Sarai. “It was a little sloppy from us tonight. I hope we bring more tomorrow.”

Fleetwood clung to a 50-47 lead heading into the fourth quarter, and things didn’t begin to resolve themselves until Young drained a triple with 3:59 left for a 60-55 lead.

Landasan, who finished with 15 points, followed in quick order with 3:27 left, with a fast-break lay-in to make it 62-55.

Steveston-London senior guard Vincent Deng, scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the second half for the Sharks.

Senior guard Ian Johnson added 16 points and Grade 11 guard Simon Deng scored nine points.

“We’re small and we know it, so we’ve got to shoot the ball better than we did tonight,” said SLSS head coach Mike Stoneburgh. “And we needed to use a bit more pace, but they did a really good job tonight of taking away our speed. Still, I was impressed at how well we rebounded the ball against a much bigger team. They had 6-8 and 6-6, our tallest guy out there was 6-3.”

Fleetwood Park will face crosstown rival Lord Tweedsmuir in a 6:15 p.m. game in the round of 16 on Thursday. The Sharks will face Tupper on the consolation side of the draw at 1:30 p.m.

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