Grade 9 Boys Basketball
Finally, at Grade 9 Boys level, in an odd twist, the team completed its City Junior playoffs, after it had already won the Island title. In the semi-final, in a rematch versus Oak Bay, the players took charge early, with Colton Stockus and Lindon Carter neutralizing Bays’ star Liam Horne. On the offensive end, while hampered by a bad back, point guard Georgios Ikonomou nailed an amazing five straight three-pointers against the zone in the first quarter. This gave the Jags a working margin right from the start, and kicked off a decisive 50-30 victory.
In the final, against PCS, it was time for others to step up and shine. With Ikonomou sidelined by injury and Trenton Schulz-Franco also missing, Keiler Totz took up the lead guard reins, and delivered 19 points and 6 assists in an impressive effort. Post Steve Whillans added 15, and, along with Wayne Lin, finally helped gain some type of parity on the boards. In the end, despite requiring a Monty Fraser-Brown free throw with four seconds to play to force overtime against the unbeaten and Grade 10 laden Pacers, SMUS rode out the extra session in fine style, breaking a 50-50 deadlock to win comfortably 62-52.
The team now takes a few days off, before moving on to Coquitlam for the Grade 9 BCs. Seeded #7 provincially, the Jags will open against #10 Tamanawis of the Fraser Valley.
Junior Boys Basketball
At Junior boys level, the team moved on to the Islands fresh from its wonderful City championship effort. The benefit of a South #1 seed was quickly apparent, with both Mt. Douglas and Lambrick Park on the opposite side of the draw.
Game 1 saw the Jags fight off a pesky Wellington outfit 45-32. Poor perimeter shooting kept the contest much closer than it perhaps might have ordinarily been. The next evening, Highland, from Comox, provided the semi-final opposition, with the game very much a carbon copy of the night before. Finally, three straight Derek Hyde-Lay treys broke open a four point affair, with the wing going on to finish with a game high 16 points. Also, in what finished a flattering 55-37 win, Liam Maclure posted a 10 point, 14 rebound double-double while guard Joe Erlic scored an even dozen.
The final was a struggle. An impressive Mt. Douglas team was given far too much room to move, and behind Conor Morgan’s four three-pointers, moved ahead early and decisively. A 20-7 first quarter lead became 32-15 at halftime, and while SMUS managed six consecutive defensive stops coming out of the break, it managed only one point in reply. Numerous penetrate and pitch opportunities went unrewarded, while the Rams superior size and strength dominated the boards at both ends. MacLure was named to the tournament All-Star team.
Nonetheless, by reaching the final, SMUS qualified on its own accord for the BC Junior Boys Tournament, which will be held at SMUS March 4-6. Seeded #10, the team will open Thursday, March 4 at noon against Okanagan champion Kelowna. All tournament details are available here.
Senior Boys Basketball
On the heels of exciting Island championship performances, the Senior boys and girls basketball teams moved on to their respective AA BC Tournaments, both held February 24-27 in Kamloops.
The boys, seeded #8, opened against Okanagan host Sahali, and quickly became involved in what, by the end of the week, almost all in attendance saw as the most exciting game of the entire tournament. As always, the margin between champion and challenger is slender, and so it proved to be on this occasion.
Sahali, spurred on by a home crowd, were in stride early, shredding the SMUS man-to-man defence en route to a 27-17 first quarter lead. However, a switch to 3-2 zone and some absolutely superb offensive execution, saw the Blue Jags return the favour in spades. Indeed, with Tycho Mommsen-Smith, Jamie Yorath, Mitch Wiggins and Travis Denley on fire, SMUS scored a season high 34 points in the second frame to go into the break up 51-42.
Some anxious moments in the third quarter, and some SMUS foul trouble, allowed Sahali back in the game, but, again, with Jure Erlic and Connor Eden hitting big shots, the lead was pushed back to 70-62 entering the final ten minutes.
Slowly, inexorably, Sahali chipped into the lead. More foul trouble had several SMUS defenders playing on tenterhooks, and when Ian Smith knocked in a jumper with a minute left, the Sabres edged in front by one. Not to be outdone, Tycho Mommsen-Smith, one of five Jags who finished in double figures, then answered from outside, giving SMUS a 80-79 lead with 29 seconds left on the clock.
Surprisingly, Sahali played for last shot. Even more suprisingly, guard Timo Sargent, who had not scored all game, came up with a corner dagger three ball with four seconds to play. 82-20 Sahali, with the crowd in raptures!
Amazingly, there was still time for Mommsen-Smith to dribble up court and find Erlic as time expired. Erlic’s long three, halfway to the hoop as the horn went off, hit pure back iron and stayed out.
Absolutely shattered, the team then had to play, a mere 12 hours later, in a consolation match vs Princess Margaret. After a slow start, the team displayed more good balance, and finished on top 62-48.
Day 3, after some rest, saw SMUS up against Southridge of the Fraser Valley. A very close game went in favour of the Storm 76-67. By the final game of the year, against Columneetza, the team was emotionally-drained and their performance suffered accordingly.
One win from four, and a 12th place BC finish, might suggest a disappointing tournament, but, the final performance notwithstanding, the team played its best basketball of the season. Sahali rode the emotional lift of their opening round victory to a 5th place finish, and this perhaps could have been SMUS’ fate had Game 1 turned out differently.
Senior Girls Basketball
On the girls side, it was simply a case of lack of offensive firepower. Over four games, the team held its opponents to an average of 50.7ppg. But, already without post Sydney Stockus and with Annie Pike on the limp from halftime onwards of Game 1, SMUS scored even less.
On opening day, SMUS, behind some absolutely tenacious defence, led 19-15 at halftime against #3 Mission, a lead that could have been double digits. Unfortunately, the Roadrunners’ superior depth, along with a knee injury suffered by Pike, told the tale after the break in what finished a 48-29 margin.
The loss moved SMUS into the consolation side of the draw, and, while performing better on offence, the team slipped 70-54 to local rival Lambrick Park. Then came a repeat of Day 1, with SMUS holding the Samuel Roberts Titans to a miserly 48 points but still unable to claim a victory.
Finally, in the last game of the season, the team found enough balance to defeat Mt. Elizabeth 45-37. All tournament, Grade 9 guards Abbie Piazza and Sophia Ducharme played with a maturity and skill level that belied their tender years, while Pike bounced back from her injury to perform well in the post. Senior Ciara Glen was also very steady throughout the event.
Grade 10 Girls Basketball
The Grade 10 girls wrapped up their season last week with playoffs. Seeded 5th, they faced 4th-seed St. Andrews on Tuesday. The team played solid defense, and controlled the boards for the majority of the game. Nicole Chan had some great moves, and used the back board well, providing 20 points. Sara Taylor chipped in with 8 points under the hoop. The final score was 36-34 in favor of SMUS, and the team moved on to face Oak Bay. The team struggled with the Breakers’ press and smothering defence in the first half.
With a short bench, the girls worked hard in the second half to create some offense. Sara Taylor was SMUS’ leading scorer with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough to pull off a win. The team then faced Lambrick Park on Friday. It was a tightly contested match-up, with SMUS leading at half time. SMUS distributed the ball well, and every player contributed with balanced rebounding, team defense, and scoring. At the end of the game, a couple of shots just would not fall for SMUS, and the result was a 39-36 loss and a 4th place finish in the league.
The Junior Badminton City Championships were hosted at SMUS last Thursday afternoon. Although our school typically chooses not to participate in the Junior League, we do put forth some of our younger badminton players into this final event, which is the culmination of their season. The SMUS athletes that participated were seven Grade 8-10 players who have been training very hard all season long with the Senior team.
On the boys’ side, Brian Yam faced some stiff competition in the singles draw, but he faired very well and earned 4th place. In doubles, the Grade 8 dynamic duo of Adam Chan and Melton Wan breezed through to the final, and eventually won it in a convincing fashion.
On the girls’ side of the draw, Bell Udomkitthanakul was new to playing singles, but did very well to capture 4th place. Cassandra Quon surprised everybody, including herself, to win the singles’ title. While this was going on, the doubles pairing of Celeste Nussbaumer and Ashton Louie won a tiebreaking match to get themselves into the final game. And in that final game, it took yet another tiebreaker win to capture another 1st place for SMUS.
With wins in the boys’ doubles, girls’ singles and girls’ doubles, SMUS scored the most team points in the City Tournament, thus capturing the Junior Badminton City Championship.