Athletics Review: January 11, 2009

SMUS Rugby Players in Provincial Club Final
Just before the holiday break, Victoria’s Castaway-Wanderers U-19 rugby squad played in the provincial club final against the team from Abbotsford. As many as twelve SMUS rugby players have played with the U-19 CW team this year and were central to its superb season of fast, skill-inspired rugby. Posting winning margins of up to 50 points, the CW engine often fired on all cylinders to leave its opposition stunned. Although none of them played in the final game, notable performances by Kevin Lin, Connor McKenzie, and Brendan Thompson throughout the season helped the team to gain its berth in the final.

The Wanderers made a physical statement early in the game and sent their opponents scrambling. On the hard, wind-swept pitch in Abbotsford, CW forwards, led by #8 Johnny Humphries and front row stalwart Masaki Kunimoto, pushed effectively against a heavier Abbotsford pack from the opening whistle. The opening kick-off, well-taken by Humphries in the driving wind, led to systematic movement downfield over several phases. The tone was set for the first fifteen minutes of play as the intense and aggressive CW side demonstrated its skill and grit, maintaining 70% possession. Sasha Gray was quick and accurate at the scrum half position, consistently producing clean ball for the CW backs.

At the middle of the half, a Mike Fuailefau try gave the visitors a much deserved edge. Tom Bridger’s attempt at conversion was given over narrowly to the winter wind. Continued defensive pressure, deliberate speed and intensity in the rucks, and some sure-handed work on the back line by Bridger, Fuailefau, and Beau Parker led to a Clayton Thornber try, successfully converted by Bridger, for a score of 12-0. The Abbotsford team gained composure and organization late in the half, validating their position as a cup contender and tallying an unconverted try, making the score 12-5.

The second half began with the CW scrum solid against a heavier side. Chad Margolus came in at #8 to replace an injured Humphries and played well. Skill, tenacity and accurate kicking by Bridger continued to work to the advantage of the island side. At one point, Parker out-ran an Abbotsford winger to make a game-saving tackle and followed up by stealing the ball for a quick turn-around.

By the closing whistle, Fuailefau had tallied again for CW and the Abbotsford side had scored as well. With time all but gone, an Abbotsford knock-on in their half set up the final whistle, as the CW scrummage produced the last clean ball of the season. Gray kicked the ball into touch and the provincial cup was on the mantle.

Final Score: 17-12

Grade 9 Boys Basketball
The team continued its winning ways over the break, ushering in the New Year with a three-game sweep in the Cowichan Tournament. First up was a narrow 39-34 victory over Dover Bay of Nanaimo; this was a close, hard fought affair not made safe until well into the final quarter.

Next up was a more straightforward 50-26 win over Mt. Prevost, before a second half offensive explosion produced a 58-28 win over Claremont.

While regulars Joe Erlic, Liam MacLure, Lewis Liu and Derek Hyde-Lay all did their bit, wings Jonty Considine, Aaron Samson and Alex Davies also contributed well. With over half the roster unavailable due to holiday commitments, Grade 8 athletes Mark Yorath, Giorgios Ikonomou and Lindon Carter also took part and displayed both fine defensive skills and efficient passing.

The full Grade 9 team is not back in action until January 15, when they play Vic High. January 23-24 they will pay a much-anticipated visit to the Hugh Boyd Tournament in Richmond.

Senior Girls Basketball
The Senior Girls Basketball team got down to business at the New Year’s Training Camp. Along with some juniors, the team worked hard, looking to sharpen up for the second half of the season. They got a run in on Saturday as they travelled up to Brentwood for an exhibition game. The team took control early with their full court pressure and didn’t look back, all the way to a 51-21 victory. Shelby Boehm led all scorers with 14 pts. Sydney Stockus added 8 pts and Lauren Kipp chipped in with 7 pts.

The team is looking for big things this week as they resume league play on Tuesday night against Esquimalt and then turn their sights to the Victoria City Police Tournament. The team tips-off with opening round action on Thursday, January 15th at 7:00 pm vs. Moscrop of Burnaby.

Junior Girls Basketball
On Wednesday, the girls battled till the final buzzer, but came up short 40-31 to Spectrum. Cliona Quail-Bradley led the scoring with 9 points and Sophie Yeates chipped in with 7 points and 5 rebounds.

This past weekend, the girls travelled up island to participate in the Dover Bay Tournament in Nanaimo. On Friday afternoon, the team was hungry for a victory – with aggressive defense and running the floor, they toppled NDSS 45-22. Sophie Yeates led the way with 14 points and 8 rebounds, with Cliona Quail-Bradley and Annie Pike earning 9 points each. Hannah Furness was tough on the boards by grabbing 6 rebounds.

Friday evening, the girls faced Cedar, who prevailed 40-29. Annie Pike led the team with 9 points and Sophie Yeates brought down 7 rebounds. On Saturday, the girls came out blazing with offensive confidence and topped Barsby 48-29. Cliona Quail-Bradley led scoring with 14 points and Annie Pike added 12 points. Sophie Yeates and Hannah Furness were monsters on the boards with 11 and 8 points, respectively.

In the third-place game, the Junior girls came up against host school Dover Bay. The girls were confident and wanted to take some hardware home with them. Their defence was intense and did not let the Dover Bay girls breathe on the offensive side. The team created turnovers and fast break opportunities and in the end, SMUS took Dover Bay 53-33. Teryl Noble led the charge on the defensive side with 6 steals while Cliona Quail-Bradley led the way in scoring with 19 points, followed closely by Annie Pike with 18 points. Sophie Yeates was relentless on the rebounding side collecting 9 rebounds. The weekend was a team effort and each girl contributed in some way to make the weekend a success.

On Monday, SMUS Junior girls travel to Mount Doug to play a league game at 4:15pm. On Wednesday, SMUS is host to Parkland at 5:45pm. Next weekend, the SMUS Junior girls will travel to Nanaimo to participate in the Cedar Tournament in Nanaimo.

Badminton
The Senior Badminton team began league play last week with a tilt against Mt. Doug. Because this game happened over the Christmas Break, the team would go into this game with exactly 10 players, which is the minimum required to field a team. It was evident early on that our players were to be the dominant team. The SMUS players took a 9-2 win. Carol Ng was impressive as she won both her matches, as was Becky Thomas, who has been showing improvement every week.

The next match takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 20th when as SMUS hosts Stelly’s

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