Grade 8 Boys Basketball
The Grade 8 boys basketball team completed their pre-Christmas season undefeated, thanks to important City playoff semifinal and final victories.
With BC tournament qualification at stake, the squad first met a tenacious Cedar Hill outfit, and, despite being outrebounded, used strong defence and a blistering fast break to prevail 56-33. Owen Sudul set the tone with his aggressive play, while Matty McColl, Max Pollen and Jason Scully led the offence.
This victory set up a much anticipated rematch vs Monterey, which was played in front of over 300 fans at a noisy SMUS gym. Though falling behind early, SMUS kept its composure, and aided by some free throws, ended up 10-10 after one quarter.
An offensive surge, led by Scully and Pollen, along with a suffocating defence which limited the dangerous Monterey wing players, saw SMUS grab a 26-18 half-time lead.
The key moment of the game came late in the third quarter, when back-to-back three-pointers, one by Scully and one by Graeme Hyde-Lay, and a long Jack Sherrod jumper extended the SMUS lead to 38-24. From then on, though not without some hairy moments, which saw Monterey scramble back within seven, victory was assured. The 46-35 final score reflected very good preparation and an excellent all round effort.
With the City title, SMUS qualifies for the 2011 BC Grade 8 Provincial Tournament, to be held March 10-12 at Pitt Meadows SS in the Fraser Valley.
Senior Boys Basketball
The Senior boys team, under the weight of a preseason AA #5 provincial ranking, opened up the 2010-2011 campaign with five games in a ten day span.
First, the squad defeated Belmont 67-61 in exhibition play, almost squandering a 20 point halftime lead before prevailing. Joe Erlic (21) and Derek Hyde-Lay (14) led the SMUS scorers.
Next up was the ISA Tournament, played at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver. A jittery start, full of missed shots and, even worse, multiple missed free throws, allowed St. George’s to gain a 26-13 lead after the first quarter and then use its superior size and depth to carry on to a decisive win. Hyde-Lay, again with 14, was top scorer.
SMUS looked to back up the following morning against Collingwood, and, despite playing a solid defensive game, lost 51-50. Fortunately, a disappointing weekend was then saved to a degree by a 74-55 victory over host WPGA.
On December 6, the team hosted Oak Bay, in what turned out to be the usual thrilling encounter against cross town rivals. While the Bays may have been definite favourites going in, SMUS, though down twice by 11 points in the third quarter, managed to keep in touch. Slowly, with a packed house willing the players on, the deficit narrowed until the score sat tied at 72 with ten seconds to play. To the delight of the visitors, a tough bucket by PG Kobyashi saw Oak Bay in front by two, before Erlic responded in equally clutch fashion at the buzzer to send the game in to overtime.
In the extra session, the Bays edged in front 80-76, but SMUS did not falter. Down 82-81, a key defensive stop led to a transition opportunity, and the last of Erlic’s 12 assists found Mitch Wiggins open in the right corner. The ensuing three put SMUS up 84-82 with virtually no time left. Following a timeout, a last second Drake Downer drive rolled around the rim and fell out, giving SMUS a notable victory.
Balanced scoring was the order of the day. Connor Eden, with 18, which included several key buckets inside, Hyde-Lay and Wiggins (15 each), Liam MacLure (14 along with 7 rebounds) and Erlic and Dave Lafleur (10) all reached double figures.
The team now returns for to the practice court before departing for a tournament in Honolulu just prior to Christmas.