Athletics Review: December 19, 2011

Senior Boys Basketball
The Senior boys, fresh off the stunning upset against Terry Fox, BC’s top AAA team, prepared for play in the Oak Bay Gary Taylor Invitational Tournament. The opening game was against Belmont, with both squads keen to show which had improved the most since the start of the season, when SMUS edged the Langford visitors 71-69.

This time, despite a slow start, the win was more comfortable, as a very good team defensive effort stifled the Bulldogs dribble-drive offence. Liam MacLure paced the offence in what finished a 67-49 win.

The next night, in front of a large and noisy crowd, SMUS played the tournament hosts in what proved to be a most exciting game. Some red-hot shooting, allied to aggressive, switching man to man defence forged a 29-12 Blue Jags lead. However, a poor close to the quarter allowed the Bays to narrow the halftime margin to six points.

The second half raged back and forth, with the lead changing hands on multiple occasions. Oak Bay guards Kaz Kobyashi and Evan Woodson were unstoppable, combining for 53 points, as the SMUS defence, for the first time, came unglued. Free throw shooting was also a huge factor, with the Bays a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch while SMUS could only manage 3-8.

In the end, SMUS, down 68-67, had three chances to take a lead in the final minute, but didn’t capitalize on them. Joe Erlic (18 points), David Lafleur (12 points) and Dawit Workie (11 points) were top scorers.

The bronze medal game that followed, against Walter Murray of Saskatoon, was a match-up between two tired and disappointed teams. In the end, behind Monty Fraser-Brown and some good energy from Johnny Huang, SMUS won 65-57.

Junior Boys Basketball
The Junior boys, behind Graeme Hyde-Lay’s 14 points, defeated Parkland to move to 2-0 in league play, and then faced off against BC #6 Pitt Meadows in the Oak Bay tournament. A quick start produced a 9-2 lead, but this was soon a distant memory as the Marauders roared back to take control.

However, a switch to a 1-3-1 zone paid dividends for SMUS in the fourth quarter, and a 9-0 late run not only wiped out the Pitt Meadows lead, but, with seven seconds to play, saw the Blue Jags in front 41-39.

But it was not to be. An improbable, off-balance 20 footer at the buzzer allowed the Fraser Valley visitors to reach overtime, and from there they went on to win 47-44.

Now on the consolation side of the draw, SMUS enjoyed two comfortable wins versus Mt. Douglas and Dover Bay. All the players performed consistently, with Jack Janus, Abe Kharaghani, Liam Keeler-Young and Jeremy Chan all effective.

Grade 9 Boys Basketball
The Grade 9 team, behind Jake Wilmott’s 14 points, were 40-22 league winners over Claremont, but lost to Mt. Prevost of Duncan in exhibition action. Kieran Large and Owen Sudul showed consistent fire, but the team couldn’t close the margin to less than eight points.

All three teams now look forward to a demanding series of holiday practices, with big tournaments set to get underway the first weekend back at school in January. The Senior boys will host the 25th SMUS Invitational, the Junior boys will travel to the Mainland to participate in the Vancouver College Emerald event while the Grade 9 boys will journey north to Courtenay for the GP Vanier Towhee Classic.

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