LANGLEY —We’re going final from Day 2 here at the 2019 TBI.
Full game reports are below, but first, a reminder that Friday’s quarterfinal games kick off at 9 a.m., while the semifinals tip off at 6:45 p.m.
All championship round games are being played on Centre Court, so if you wanted to get your fill of hoops on Friday, the LEC can’t be beat.
Here’s the championship draw:
9 a.m. — Holy Cross vs. Duchess Park
10:30 a.m. — Centennial vs. G.W. Graham
12:15 p.m. — Burnaby South vs. Claremont
1:45 p.m. — Kelowna vs. Terry Fox
6:45 p.m. — Draw A winners
8:15 p.m. — Draw B winners
THE GAME REPORTS
TERRY FOX 89 OAK BAY 72
LANGLEY — The Terry Fox Ravens could have played a gaggle of games to open their 2019-20 season, but the PoCo-based squad elected in the off-season to schedule light and practice hard.
While it didn’t result in an oil painting Thursday in their opener at TBI 2019, an 89-72 win over Victoria’s Oak Bay Bays did signal how productive eight days of practice were for a team returning just three players from last season.
“Last season we played in the Kodiak Classic and the TBI, and they were both four games in three days,” said Ravens co-coach Mark Prinster after the win. “This year we looked at our roster, and there were a lot of new names.”
So the Ravens played their traditional exhibition opener against Vancouver College, then went right into the gym.
“One of the things (co-coach) Brad (Petersen) and I are so happy about is how hard our guys compete in practice,” adds Prinster. “(Point guard) Ko (Takahashi) and Cam (Slaymaker)and Jake (McFarland) are the only experienced players back from last year, so we told the guys early on that there was an opportunity to play, but that it had to be earned in practice.”
All of that has made the rotation a lot tighter, but of course, while all is not yet perfect, having a player like Slaymaker in the lineup can cure any number of ills.
The 6-foot-4 Grade 11 guard poured home 47 points, including going 13 of 17 from the stripe, in the win.
“He’s so good and he’s improved so much over last year,” said Prinster. “His ability to read and find his scoring opportunities without looking like the ball the ball is in his hands all the time has been noticeable. He really improved his basketball IQ because he knew he was going to get a lot of attention.”
Takahasi added 15 for Fox, while Matthew Collow with 19 points, Lucas Maffia with 16 and Alvaro Iraolo with 13 hit double figures for Oak Bay.
CLAREMONT 91 LORD TWEEDSMUIR 72
LANGLEY — They looked like the pick of Vancouver Island.
It’s really early but Victoria’s Claremont Spartans got off to about as lethal an opening quarter as we’re apt to see here over the course of TBI 2019.
The Quad-A No. 10-ranked Spartans put up 37 points over the first stanza against Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, a total that included a comprehensive 13-0 run on its way to a 19-point victory over the co-No. 10, defending provincial champs.
Maybe the scariest part of all?
The Spartans hadn’t even played a game yet heading in, they were welcoming back four members of the school’s bronze medal-winning AAA volleyball team, yet they almost broke the century mark despite having just two players reach double figures.
“We’ve been looking forward to getting over here and seeing how we stack up against the mainland teams,” said Claremont head coach Brandon Dunlop.
“We’re pretty deep… today we got 12 guys in and if some guys aren’t performing, we’ve got guys ready to come fill their spot,” he added. “It’s a nice problem to have as a coach.”
Senior forward Ethan Boag led the winners with 23 points, but after that it was 10 from Kyle Pepper, nine from Noah Meselink, and eight apiece from Benn Manns and Jakob Neufeld.
Lord Tweedsmuir senior forward Jackson Corneil was outstanding in scoring 40 points in defeat.
“For us, it’s about jelling as a group,” added Dunlop, whose seniors have been joined this season by a rising group of Grade 11s who last season advanced to the B.C. junior semifinals. “We’ve got a skillful group, and a lot of guys who want the ball in their hands, so it’s finding them in comfortable spots so they can succeed. We have to do it as a team. You can’t beat the best teams with one of two guys.”
BURNABY SOUTH 67 SIR CHARLES TUPPER 60
LANGLEY — East Vancouver’s Sir Charles Tupper Tigers had designs on pulling the upset of the young 2019-20 season on Thursday in the TBI’s Sweet 16 round.
Some might tell you that Triple A’s No. 2-ranked Tigers are good enough to beat any team in the province, including the Quad-A No. 1-ranked Burnaby South Rebels.
The fact that they crept to within two possession in the fourth quarter and basically stayed there the rest of the way was impressive.
Yet nothing was more impressive on the night than the fourth-quarter stretch drive performance of the Rebels’ 6-foot-7 Grade 10 post Karan Aujla.
After Kieran Sheretan of Tupper completed an and-one play from the stripe to pull the Tabbies to within 56-52 with five minutes left, Aujla made every big play there was to make.
Not only did he score all nine of his fourth-quarter points over that stretch, the last three buckets he sunk all came off his own offensive rebounds.
For good measure, he started his surge with a beautiful turnaround hook.
“Karan finished the game very well, especially when he crashed the boards,” said South head coach Mike Bell. “When (Tupper) went 1-3-1, he was a lot harder to find for them in their box outs, but that team we beat tonight, that is a great team.”
Aujla finished with a game-high 24 points, while guard Justin Sunga aded 21 and guard Jimmy Zaborniak 12. Interestingly enough, none of them are seniors.
Matt Dunkerley led the Tigers with 19 points, while Luke Tobias had 15 and Rhys Maestre 11.
“It’s good to be challenged, to make sure we can’t just walk on the court and expect to win,” said Bell. “We have a giant target on our backs and we know will not be handed anything.”
KELOWNA 93 SEAQUAM 69
LANGLEY — It’s a known fact that the Kelowna Owls are a pretty tight and efficient senior boys basketball team, yet it’s not too far off base to call their first game at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational the second stage in a unique training camp of sorts.
On Monday, five Owls — Jayden Lalonde, Ethan Braam, Braden White, Rylan Ibbetson and Connor Dojohn — re-joined their teammates for the first time in 2019-20, and while they are in volleyball shape after helping lead their team to a berth in last week’s B.C. AAA final right here at the LEC, there is the small manner of bringing them up to speed with their running.
“They hadn’t practiced with us in three weeks,” said Owls head coach Harry Parmar after KSS topped North Delta’s Seaquam Seahawks 93-69 to earn a berth in Friday’s quarterfinals. “Volleyball is a different kind of shape. We just want to get up and down (the court).”
Nonetheless, the No. 2 Owls’ only loss this season has come at the hands of No. 1 Burnaby South and as of the completion of Day 2 here in Langley, the chance remained that the two teams could meet in Friday night’s 8:15 p.m. semifinal.
On Thursday, Malcolm Greggor led the winners with 19 points, while Lalonde added 17 and Jonathon Haughton 16.
Sham Walia led the Seahawks with 19 points while Andrei Verchez had 14.
“The other guys had been playing well and making connections, but then when you throw five more bodies in there, it changes things,” said Parmar. “But four of the five played last season. Besides, it’s not about today. It’s about February and March and we’ll figure things out.”
DUCHESS PARK 83 WALNUT GROVE 69
LANGLEY — Prince George’s Duchess Park Condors didn’t exactly take a short little drive down to the friendly confines of the Langley Events Centre for TBI 2019.
The trip was a major undertaking, and with that in mind, DPSS head coach Jordan Yu admitted his Triple-A No. 3-ranked team is coming into play with a pretty unique perspective.
“It’s rare for us to get a chance to come in here and get the chance to play in the same gym as the provincial championships, so we’re treating this tournament like the provincial championships,” the former UBC Thunderbirds guard explained following his team’s 83-69 win over the Quad-A Walnut Grove Gators of Langley.
“We’re focusing on the defensive end and we want to see what the guys are made of,” continued Yu. “So we’re going to go for it. Why not try to win a championship at the start of the season, and we want it to be preparation for the rest of the year.”
To that end, Yu saw two of his go-to players — Connor Lewis and Caleb Lyons — looking lethargic in pre-game warms-ups.
It carried through to the game where Lewis scored just nine first-half points and Lyons none.
“But I talked to them at half and they responded well,” added Yu, as Lewis scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half, and Lyons all 15 of his points. Jackson Kuc added 18 for the game.
Nolan Premack led the Gators with a co-game-high 24 while Kyle Kong scored 20.
G.W. GRAHAM 73 BELMONT 66
LANGLEY — Jake Mouritzen has already lost his voice and it’s still the first week of December.
By the time March rolls around, you might want to call the veteran head coach of Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies the basketball whisperer.
“I would call that a messy win,” Mouritzen explained after his Triple A No. 5 Grizz topped Victoria’s No. 8-ranked Quad-A Belmont Bulldogs 73-66. “We made a lot of fundamental mistakes out there, and when we don’t have our juniors with us. We’re not very deep, so we get tired.”
Alas, they had enough in the tank to maintain a douvle-digit lead down the fourth quarter stretch drive.
And, they have the Klim brothers.
The 6-foot-10 Matthias had 14 points, and 6-foot-9 Zachary 16 points for the winners. The rest of the starting five all supplied double-figure scoring.
Clay Kurtz 1had 20 points, Jude Hall 11 and Cairo Almarez 10.
Belmont got 15 from Markus Modrivic, 13 from Riley Merryweather and 10 from Hunter Thompson.
G.W. Graham, which lost by two points to Quad-A No. 2 Kelowna, has now beaten Quad A teams Lord Tweedsmuir, Semiahmoo and Belmont to start its season.
“The schedule is what we planned for,” said Mouritzen.
“We’ve got good size in the back, so we’re excited about December. It should help us get ready for the rest of the way.
CENTENNIAL 91 R.A. MCMATH 61
LANGLEY — And then there were three…
Coquitlam’s Quad A No. 3-ranked Centennial Centaurs may have been missing a few pieces of their rotation for its TBI opener Thursday against Richmond’s Triple-A No. 6 R.A. McMath Wildcats.
Yet like any championship-contending team worth its salt, they showed their ability to shake off such adversity and rise to the occasion.
Plus, having a triumvirate like big man Dom Parolin, versatile newcomer Paul Didenko and explosive guard Leif Skelding to lean on is something few teams can boast of.
With what is surely among the very best trios in the province leading the way, the Centaurs topped the Wildcats 92-61 with a show of strength befitting their top-tier, top-three ranking.
“They’re mobile, they’re agile and they are athletic,” said Centaurs head coach Rob Sollero of the trio. “They play very well together in a nice three-man game. They see each other very well. We have Leif to facilitate, and Paul and Dom to finish, but those two guys can also hit from the outside.”
Parolin was simply unstopped on his way to a game-high 38 points, while Didenko, who came to Centennial last season and sat out on a transfer after the Burnaby Mountain program folded, scored 22 through three quarters. Skelding added 12.
The Centaurs played with four regulars missing from the lineup, including starting guard Terry Ko, who suffered a serious knee injury at last week’s Heritage Woods Kodiak Classic tournament.
Guards Ryan Lee and Kyle Jang logged heavy minutes and were solid for the winners.
Super-quick guard Travis Hamberger led the Wildcats with 21 points, while fellow Grade 11 Rio Hutchful added 14. Senior Jon Downton had nine.
HOLY CROSS 95 HERITAGE WOODS 79
LANGLEY — Surrey’s Quad-A No. 5 Holy Cross Crusaders know that they are team that likes to play in a hurry.
They also know that to bring precision to that kind of purpose that you are going to figuratively do your share of tripping and falling before you hit your perfect gallop.
“Our goal right now is to play faster,” admitted Crusaders head coach Anthony Pezzente after Holy Cross was finally able to shake off a determined and improving Heritage Woods Kodiaks squad 95-79 in the Sweet 16 round of TBI 2019.
“I don’t think our pace has been good enough so we have really preached in the last week to go faster and play with that pace, and we kind of just wore them out at the end.”
Rolling with an 11-man rotation, the Crusaders were led by the 21 points of Brent Padilla, 15 from Uyi Ologhola, 13 from Logan Mathers and 10 from Ben Levy.
Morgan Liski led the Kodiaks with 17 points, while Chris Moon and Maxx Davidson each scored 15.
“It’s hard to play like that,” Pezzente said of the team’s unrelenting offensive pace, “but that is the way we practice it, and because we have to commit so much time to it, things like our half court defence won’t always great. But it’s a long season and it’s the first week of December. We have time to fix that. But the other part? Playing fast? That’s our identity. That’s what we have to do well.”
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