Vancouver College's Levi Dvorak, blocking out against South Kam's 6-10 Ripley Martin earlier this season, was a difference maker Friday as the Fighting Irish repeated as Lower Mainland AAA champs with a win over St. George's at the Richmond Oval. (Varsity Letters file photo by Howard Tsumura)
Feature High School Boys Basketball

Van College’s Levi Dvorak: Irish senior conducts a symphony in rebounding en route to 4A Mainland title win over Saints

RICHMOND — Levi Dvorak shares a surname with one of classical music’s giants of symphonic composition. 

And while Vancouver College’s Dvorak, at 6-foot-3, may not have been gifted as a giant to do the kind of work he does in the trenches for the Fighting Irish, there is no doubt that the senior lifted the art of the offensive rebound to symphonic form on Friday night.

In a game in which its arch-rivals, the St. George’s Saints, mounted rally after rally in the rubber-match of their season-long struggle, it was Dvorak’s ability to not only score on put-back opportunities off the offensive glass, but to give the Irish a comfort to know that even if they missed, their percentages to score were still hovering towards the sunny side of victory.

Dvorak scored 16 points and easily surpassed that number in key caroms as the Irish held on to top the Saints 80-75 in the Lower Mainland Quad-A title game played in front of a capacity crowd of 1,200 fans at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

The victory sends the Irish into the B.C. Quad A championship tournament next month with the zone’s No. 1 seed. St. George’s goes as No. 2.

And while Dvorak was at his blue-collar best, team leader Jack Cruz-Dumont was, as always, sublimely efficient, scoring in all measure of fashion and finishing with a game-high 28 points.

St. George’s played their most efficient stretch of basketball to open the contest.

In fact when guard William Lin hit a pair of free throws just 4:54 into the game. St. George’s were leading 15-6, an impressive spurt ignited by back-to-back game-opening treys by its compact, ice-veined guard Jarric Palma.

Cruz-Dumont steadied the Irish ship not too soon afterwards with three straight buckets as part of an 11-3 Irish response, but the plucky Saints reeled off six straight points to close the quarter on top 24-15.

Vancouver College took its first lead of the game at 34-31 when its talented Grade 10 guard Callum Chow-White drilled an NBA-distance three-pointer that Sports Canada TV analyst Paul Eberhardt labelled as “coming from 41st and Granville.”

Cruz-Dumont’s spinning jumper and Chow-White’s lay-in gave Vancouver College a 38-36 lead at halftime.

And while St. George’s would continue to mount runs over the second half, they were more responders than they were tempo setters, a trend which ultimately made the difference.

The Irish won the game largely on the strength of a 15-3 run in the third quarter, a stretch punctuated by a Palma trey and opening with four straight Irish steals which led to four straight Irish baskets, including triples by Cam Wright and Chow-White.

That surge made it 56-46 with 4:49 remaining, and from that stage, the closest Saints would creep was within five points on two occasions.

Cruz-Dumont’s 28 points were supplemented by three other double-figure scorers. Dvoark’s 16, Chow-White’s 14 and Wright’s 13. Max Andrews hit a pair of triples to finish with six points while Kapi Kumanan had one to finish with three points.

Bill Lin with 16 points, Louis Sujir with 14 and William Lin with 10 were Saints’ other double-figure scorers. Alex Ference added five points, Sam Sirlin four and Owen Vandenberg three.

Burnaby South topped Kitsilano 80-75 in the third-fourth game played earlier in the day at the oval, meaning the Rebels head to provincials with the zone’s final BC berth.

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