Senior Boys Basketball
The Senior boys basketball team began the second half of the season in good form, hosting the SMUS Invitational, a 12-team event featuring schools from all across western Canada.
On Day 1, SMUS beat Calgary’s Bowness team 75-37 before turning its sights on BC AAA#2 ranked Vancouver College. In front of a large and partisan crowd, an upset was in the making, with the Blue Jags jumping out to a 23-9 first quarter lead. Slowly however, the relentless Fighting Irish pressure took its toll, with the margin reduced to three points at intermission.
With the momentum having shifted in its favour, Vancouver College continued to extend the lead, even though SMUS hung around within four points as late as mid-fourth quarter. But then, a six-point mini run sealed the game for the visitors, with a few more baskets making for a 62-45 final.
Nonetheless, as the tournament format allowed pool runners-up to enter the championship side of the draw, SMUS drew local rival Oak Bay in a much anticipated quarterfinal. Unfortunately, the efforts of the previous night had clearly taken a toll, as a sluggish home team immediately fell behind by double digits. Following that, the team struggled offensively and managed just ten second half points en route to a 63-33 defeat. Quite incredibly, the team combined to shoot 2-28 from the three point line, with virtually every attempt wide open.
With nothing to do but laugh at such a horrid shooting display, the team bounced back well the next day to claim 5th place overall. First, with shots once again dropping, the team defeated Bishop Mahoney of Saskatoon 78-64, with Dawit Workie nailing four three-pointers en route to a team high 16 points. Then, behind Joe Erlic’s 26 points, SMUS knocked over Lambrick Park 62-51.
Erlic was named a tournament team award winner, while Monty Fraser-Brown, playing with increasing confidence, also enjoyed several strong games.
The team now looks forward to the Victoria City Police Tournament from January 13-15, starting with a tasty opening game against BC AA#1 Windsor.
Junior Boys Basketball
The Junior boys basketball team competed in the prestigious Vancouver College Tournament over the weekend, featuring some of the top teams in the province. They boys opened up against Kelowna, and controlled the tempo of the game from the start. Matt Rud led all scorers, with 10 points, with solid efforts also being turned-in by Graeme Hyde-Lay and Jeremy Chan.
The semi-final game pitted the Blue Jags against perennial powerhouse, and provincially #1 ranked Vancouver College. The boys struggled all game to find their rhythm, and had difficulty with the Fighting Irish’s stifling defence. Jack Janus was a bright spot for the team, putting in nine points, and a very solid rebounding effort, but in the end SMUS was outmatched.
The final game of the tournament would be against another strong mainland team, the Burnaby South Rebels. SMUS came out of the gates gunning, and jumped to a 21-4 lead, sparked by a flurry of outside shots by Mat Rud. The Rebels clawed their way back into the game, cutting our lead to eleven at the half.
In the second half, Burnaby South switched to a zone defence, and while the Blue Jags got good shots against it, the ball refused to go in the hoop. Down the stretch, we had no answer for the complement of scorers on the Rebels, who blew the game open in the fourth quarter. Despite showing tremendous resilience after the morning defeat, the boys fell 58-49.
Overall, this was a weekend of ups and downs, but probably most importantly, of character building. The team proved they can play with the best teams in the province, and also came back to play an excellent game after losing by a substantial margin. Every player contributed, and the team should be proud of their growth and accomplishments.