Basketball Teams Primed for Playoffs
With the 2011 basketball playoffs just round the corner, several SMUS teams came through with impressive wins in key recent action.
First, the Senior girls completed an impressive double against BC #8 Lambrick Park, shooting impressively all game en route to a 70-62 win. Sophia Ducharme notched 14 of her game high 24 points in the opening quarter, while Abbey Piazza (15 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds) flirted with a triple-double. Madison Hadfield (15-8) and Annie Pike (21-7) also figured prominently, while guard Ally Pollen connected on a critical basketball with under a minute to play to thwart any opposition comeback.
The team now advances as South #1 to the Island Tournament, to be held at SMUS February 24-26.
The Senior boys, after an injury-riddled and frustrating January, seemed rejuvenated after the half-term break. With the City AA league title at stake, the team likewise hosted Lambrick Park, #2 in the BC rankings, on February 10. A spectacular 25-15 opening blitz by the Lions looked ominous, but SMUS held its ground and kept the margin to nine points at intermission. However, despite several opportunities to cut into the deficit in the third period, SMUS still trailed 51-42 with ten minutes to play.
Then, on the back of some outstanding defence, key rebounds and impressive post play from David Lafleur, the comeback began. With 45 seconds to play, and the score knotted at 54, senior guard Mitch Wiggins connected on a deep three-pointer, and, after some last-second free throws, SMUS ended up on top 60-57!
With the victory, SMUS now enters the February 17-19 South Island qualifying tournament on a roll, even if formidable obstacles await in the form of Lambrick Park, Brentwood and Shawnigan. Four teams move on to the Islands, February 24-26 in Ladysmith, with the top three from that event then advancing to the BC AAs March 9-12 in Kamloops.
At the Junior boys level, SMUS completed its City tournament, beating decisively Oak Bay, Belmont and Lambrick Park to secure top seeding at the Island Tournament February 17-19 at Claremont. Point guard Mark Yorath has continued his commanding play, while Georgios Ikonomou and Dawit Workie complete an ultra quick and competitive back court trio.
Of course, the group also has one eye on the 16-team BC Invitational Tournament, to be hosted at SMUS March 3-5.
The Grade 9 boys, behind forward Matt Rud and guard Danny Wu, are also South #1 seed at their February 18-19 Island Tournament, to be held in Wellington. The team prepped effectively this past weekend, performing well against BC #1 Vancouver College before going down 53-42.
Likewise, the Grade 9 girls, behind wing Sofia Liang, are moving on to their Island event February 18-19 at Woodlands SS in Nanaimo.
Finally, by virtue of a pre-Christmas playoff win over arch-rival Monterrey, the Grade 8 boys continue their preparation for the BC Tournament, which will be held March 10-12 at Pitt Meadows. This weekend, the team will contest the ISA event, with potential matches against St. Georges and Collingwood. The three waged some great battles against each other a year ago at the CAIS U13 Nationals.
While the Grade 8 girls were not successful in reaching provincials, the team did play very well in two post-Christmas tournaments, winning at Hugh Boyd in Richmond and falling by a single point to York House in the ISA final.