LANGLEY — Welcome to the first day off the 2019 Tsumura Basketball Invitational.
Please check back on this posting throughout the day for reports from the opening round’s four preliminary round games.
SIR CHARLES TUPPER 56 SMUS 50
LANGLEY — It was a game in which both teams could claim a disadvantage.
East Vancouver’s Triple A No. 2-ranked Sir Charles Tupper Tigers were faced with the prospect of its 6-foot-7 senior Matthew Dunkerley battling through a pair of sore legs which limited his minutes.
Victoria’s St. Michaels University School Blue Jags, meanwhile, making their first appearance at the Triple A tier since the four tier era began, had practiced just once and had not yet played a game this season, owing to the fact that its roster was still playing volleyball up until this past weekend.
It was with great surprise, then, that in the midst of all of that, a basketball game broke out. And it was a pretty darn good one, to boot.
SMUS weathered a chilly 12-2 deficit to start the game, the final of four Tsumura Basketball Invitational Day 1 tilts at the Langley Events Centre, and actually came back to lead 33-30 in the second half.
And even when a hot-shooting Tupper squad built its lead to as many as 15 points (54-39) in the late going, the Jags still had enough to put together another rally, this time pulling to within 54-50 before the game clock did them in.
The victory puts Tupper into Thursday’s round of 16 where it will face Quad-A No. 1 Burnaby South in a 6:15 p.m. clash.
Yet who knows where the Tigers and Blue Jags might meet again?
Perhaps it’ll be right back here at the LEC in the midst of March Madness.
“Matthew’s legs were bothering him, so we had to take him out, and we got real scared when (6-foot-6 Grade 11) Luke (Tobias) went down, but thankfully he was OK,” Tupper head coach Jeff Gourley said of the two players that give his team a true inside presence on a roster filled with shooters. “But (SMUS) are a great team, incredibly well-coached. They run their stuff well and No. 4 (Kyle Ferguson) can shoot the ball, huh?”
Ferguson, a 6-foot-1 Grade 11 guard, scored a game-high 21 points, including four triples.
Karter Fry added nine while Will Kinahan added eight.
The Tigers got 10 points from Tobias, and nine apiece from Noah Basas, Rhys Maestre and Dunkerley.
“It’s really early and we had a really bad third quarter,” said SMUS head coach Ian Hyde-Lay. “There were some mental meltdowns, but I can’t fault the effort of the guys. All things considered, it was a promising start and very few people remember the results of games in early December.”
SMUS faces Richmond’s A/R. MacNeill Ravens in 1:30 p.m. game Thursday.
SEAQUAM 78 A.R. MACNEILL 72 (OT)
LANGLEY — It was the kind of game that North Delta’s Seaquam Seahawks may look back on later in the season if they ever forget the definition of intensinal fortitude.
Never looking like the kind of team with the capability to close the deal over the majority of their TBI Round 1 contest against Richmond’s A.R. MacNeill Ravens, the Seahawks finally discovered their basketball mojo, and once they did, they looked like a completely different team.
“It took us three quarters to wake up, but in the fourth quarter and overtime we really put it together,” said Seahawks’ head coach Cameron MacGillivary after his charges held the Ravens to just two made field goals over the final seven minutes of clock en route to a 78-72 win.
The Seahawks’ senior Jaydon Panganiban missed a pair of free throws with 1:55 left in overtime to keep the game locked at 71-71, yet 18 seconds later, his active play got him back to the stripe, and his two subsequent makes signalled a game-closing 7-1 run which featured lay-ins from Dylan Andersen, Andrei Verchez and Panganiban, the latter finishing with a team-high 17 points.
Coming together late and getting rewarded with a quality win against a Triple A No. 7-ranked Ravens team will only help put the Quad-A honourable mention Seahawks into a place where it is winning consistently against the top teams in the province.
“The biggest problem with our group was coming together,” said MacGillivary. “We made ‘come togehter’ one of our team pillars and I feel like it’s starting to happen.
“At the start, I didn’t think we had it in us to overcome the adversity but now I can se some bonding and some love forming, and good things should happen if that continues,” added MacGillivary as the Seahawks now prepare to face the Quad-A No. 2 Kelowna Owls in the round of 16 on Thursday (6:15 p.m.).
Justyn Barn scored 16 in the win, post Mitchell Hope added 13, Andersen 11 and the Grade 10 Verchez 10 points.
For the Ravens, last season a Final Four team at Triple A, Everett Swaim scored a game-high 22 points, Hudson Swaim added 13, and Tanner Devlin and Jackson Thackwray 10 apiece.
HERITAGE WOODS 58 NEW WESTMINSTER 54
LANGLEY — If you want to provide the perfect example of team intensity and chemistry, cast your mind back to last March and the No. 15 Heritage Woods Kodiaks’ 81-68 stunner over the No. 2 Kitsilano Blue Demons in the opening round of the B.C. senior boys Quad-A championships right here at the Langley Events Centre.
Key seniors Zach Hamed and Arshia Movassaghi have left via graduation, yet a sizeable core of that team has returned, and on Wednesday, they continued to take their first few steps towards helping Port Moody’s Kodiaks discover their new team identity.
The Kodiaks put a tough shooting night behind them, holding the New Westminster Hyacks to just one field goal for the final four minutes of play and using a game-closing 13-4 run to win 58-54.
The victory sends honourable mention Heritage Woods into the Sweet 16 round Thursday (3 p.m.) against Surrey’s No. 5 Holy Cross Crusaders.
“Chris (Moon) and Peter (Mueckel), Nik (Bartulin) and Morgan (Liski) are back so it’s nice for them to know they can play at this level,” said Kodiaks’ coach Roj Johal. “I think the biggest thing from last year’s team was the level of intensity they came out and played with. We’re struggling with part right now, but we’ve got 14 players and it’s hard to get that chemistry right at the beginning.”
Grade 11 standout Nariman Avakoli got the game-closing run underway with a lay-in and went on to finish with a game-high 17 points.
Moon added 14 and Liski 10, eight of which came over the final quarter.
Forward Kirk Bothwell led the Hyacks with nine points. The balanced New West offence saw 10 different players hit the scoresheet including Quentin Leberg with Bradie Traverse with eight apiece.
The Hyacks will face Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Dragons on the consolation side of the draw Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
R.A. MCMATH 91 FLEETWOOD PARK 58
LANGLEY — After the opening game of the 2019 Tsumura Basketball Invitational, R.A. McMath head coach Jon Acob professed that there’s a place his Wildcats simply can’t get enough of.
“They love to play at the LEC,” Acob said moments after his team’s decisive 91-58 win over Surrey’s Fleetwood Park Dragons on the facility’s Centre Court hardwood. “There is something about this place where they can’t miss and I hope it carries on.”
You couldn’t overhype the way the Wildcats — who lost on this same floor to the Burnaby South Rebels in last season’s B.C. junior championship final — came out and shot it early against the Quad-A honourable mention Dragons.
At one stage, Fleetwood Park head coach Nick Day asked Acob if his team was ever going to miss.
The Wildcats led 20-6 out of the chute, hit seven first-quarter treys in the first quarter, and 24 on the game, en route to booking a spot in Thursday’s Sweet 16 against Coquitlam’s Centennial Centaurs (3 p.m., Centre Court).
Travis Hamberger, the Grade 11 guard who was such a vital piece in the Wildcats’ run to the provincial JV title game last March, led the way with 32 points, going 5-of-9 from distance.
His senior teammate, the appropriately named Jon Downton, shook off a collective 1-for-12 streak from three-point range over the previous three combined games to hit on 5-of-7 from downtown as part of his 23 point game.
As well, Grade 11 Rio Hutchful hit four threes and finished with 17 points.
“It’s just the way we move the ball,” said Acob of his Wildcats, ranked No. 6 in the latest B.C. Triple A Big 10 rankings released today. “It’s team ball. They are unselfish and they don’t care who takes the shot because they are all confident in each other, They’re gym rats. I have to kick them out of the gym.”
Ravi Randhawa led Fleetwood Park with 13 points. Amrit Bassi and Raymon Saran each added nine points.
McMath led 30-13 at the end of the quarter, 56-20 at the half, and 77-47 after three quarters.
THE REST OF WEDNESDAY’S GAMES
5:45 p.m. — A.R. MacNeill vs. Seaquam
7:15 p.m. — Sir Charles Tupper vs. St. Michaels University School
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