Senior Girls Basketball
The Senior girls kicked off the new year at the ISA tournament, hosted by Shawnigan Lake. The tournament was a good measure for the team, since it featured the provincially top-ranked AA team York House.
In the opening game of the tournament, SMUS played St. John’s of Vancouver. SMUS made quick work of the opposition, with some strong full court pressure and sound finishing around the basket. Madison “McGoo” Hadfield led all scorers with 16 points, Abbey “Zeke” Piazza finished with 15 points and Sydney “the Spider” Stockus chipped in with 11 points. There were several highlights in the game, including a circus-shot by Montana “Cheeko” Sawyer, who finished with 6 points. The defensive end was anchored by Annie “the Matrix” Pike, who finished with 10 rebounds and Ciara “Shooter” Glen finished with 5 steals.
The win setup the semi-final matchup with Collingwood. The Blue Jags were up to the task as they handed Collingwood a 57-49 loss. SMUS led throughout the game and had some great hi-lo action, featuring Rebecca “Spike” Mulroney dominating the low post (Rebecca finished with 10 points).
Sydney led all scorers with 16 points, Abbey was solid again adding another 15 points and Madison finished with 11 points.
In the final game, SMUS would face the York House Tigers of Vancouver. York House is a top-ranked AA team and will definitely be a provincial contender come the playoffs. SMUS started the game solidly, down 10-5 after the opening 7 minutes of play. However, the full court pressure proved to be too much for the Blue Jags to handle as the deficit widened. In spite of the 71-22 loss, there were some very positive signs. Abbey demonstrated poise under pressure in the second half, while fearlessly attacking the basket and Annie competed hard for the full 40 minutes with some of the top players in the province.
The second place finish at the ISA’s was a good result for SMUS and the lessons learned in the final game will prove to be invaluable as they continue with their season.
Next up for the Senior Girls is a league game on Tuesday night against Parklands and then SMUS hosts the Victoria City Police Tournament. SMUS plays on Thursday, January 14th at 12 pm and Friday, January 15, at 10:15 am in the single gym.
Junior Boys Basketball
The team looked to regain momentum from the successes of the first term by venturing north to compete in the January 8-9 GP Vanier Invitational Tournament. Though a bit rusty, the players had little difficulty defeating Lake Trail in first round action and then, thanks to a swarming full court press, beating Ballenas in the semi-final.
The final, against Steveston from the Lower Mainland, proved a trickier proposition, with the Packers 6’4″, 225 lb post player dominating proceedings down low. The opposition tactic of packing the lane and conceding outside jump shots ended up being successful, as normally reliable marksmen Joe Erlic and Derek Hyde-Lay misfired from outside.
In the last few minutes, a desperation comeback, fuelled by tournament All-Star Dawit Workie, was very nearly successful. With less than a minute to play and SMUS trailing by a single point, an odd “inadvertent whistle” negated a clean steal and go ahead layup by Mark Yorath. To Steveston’s credit, they capitalized on this good fortune, scoring a key hoop, and then, after one more SMUS miss from beyond the arc, two more free throws in the dying seconds to win 54-49.
Still, there were many positives for SMUS, with post Johnny Huang making a particularly successful return from the holiday break.
The team now faces a very busy week, with key league games January 11 and 13 before a trip to the Mainland to compete in the prestigious North Shore Junior Invitational.
Senior Boys Basketball
The team, and the school, hosted an extremely successful three day Tournament January 7-9. (A full recap of the event can be found here.)
Indeed, 12 teams, including five from out of province, contested 30 games over the three days. In the end, St. George’s emerged as champion, defeating Dover Bay of Nanaimo 80-74 in overtime, after a battle royale between two of BC’s best AAA teams.
SMUS performed with great credit, advancing to the quarterfinals before bowing out to St. Paul’s, the #4 AAA team in Manitoba, 73-61. Then, saving the best for last, the Blue Jags put in a tremendous performance to defeat Edmonton’s Harry Ainlay 85-69.
Jure Erlic was named to the All-Tournament team, while Tycho Mommsen-Smith and Jamie Yorath also performed extremely well. Likewise, Grade 11 guard Mitch Wiggins hit some key shots, forward Luke McCloskey battled effectively in the post against much larger opponents, and other reserves contributed some key plays.
Coach Reagan Daly and the squad now look forward to several days of practice before opening against Mark Isfeld from the North Island in the opening round of the Victoria City Police Tournament on January 14.