Athletics Review: ISAA Squash Championships and Basketball Galore

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2012 ISAA Junior and Senior Squash Championships

SMUS hosted a strong field of junior and senior squash players last week and posted solid results.

Listen to an interview with squash coach Stuart Dixon about the tournament: Interview with squash coach Stuart Dixon

Junior Girls Developmental Basketball
by Amanda Daum

The Junior girls developmental team had a busy week of basketball, playing six games and coming out on top twice. Tournament MVPs were Megan Harrison, Chris Chen and Yasmin Roudsari. With very little time to practice, this team was able to do a fantastic job of running a new offence and adjusting to team changes. All of the girls should be very proud of how well they played as a team and as individuals. We are learning and improving each game we play.

Senior Girls Basketball
by Lindsay Brooke

After a lengthy two-week hiatus from game play, the Senior girls basketball team competed in the Belmont Invitational. A small, six team tournament that involved pool play and one cross-over match, had the Jags playing both their pool games on the Friday evening. Their first opponent was local AAA team Spectrum. The Spectrum team boasts some good athletes with a real strength in their 3-point shooters. After charging out to a 16-10 first quarter lead, the girls began to struggle offensively, losing the next three quarters. In the end, Spectrum eeked out a two-point victory, 47-45. Abbey Piazza led all scorers with 17 points.

With only a one-game rest, the SMUS team needed to regroup quickly. Their next opponent was another AAA team, Sir Winston Churchill. This time, the Blue Jags would not falter. In fact, as the game wore on the team improved, netting a victory by a significant margin, 62-27. Once again, Piazza factored into the scoring mix with 26 points, Allie White added 14 points and Madison Hadfield chipped in with 11. Strong defensive efforts were put forth by Orla Glen and Rachel Sibbald.

The crossover match pitted the Blue Jags against AA Saint Thomas Moore of Burnaby. This was an important game for the team as they needed to improve their record against other AA teams. The girls had a terrific start and never looked back. Led by Allie White’s 20 points and nine rebounds, SMUS outscored STM 60-38. Sophia Ducharme added nine points in a solid all-round effort.

The team will play their second league game against Parklands this week, then travel to Vancouver on Thursday for the important Big Kahuna Classic at York House School.

Junior Girls Basketball
by Aimee Daly

After a week off the Junior girls were keen to put their practice to work as they hosted the first annual Blue Jags Classic. They faced Lambrick Park in their first game, and were outscored by the Pride by a meagre five points. Jenna Dhillon led the team with eight points and earned player of the game.

After a few hours off, the Blue Jags re-grouped and came back Friday evening to defeat Dover Bay 44-35. Jenna Dhillon contributed 10 points, Avnashi Dhillon added eight, and point guard Emma Loughton put up five points, earning player of the game.

In their final game for 3rd place the Jags went up against rival Crofton House. The two teams exchanged hoops throughout the first half, however with a slow start to the third quarter Crofton was able to pull away. The Jags rallied and came out fighting in the final quarter, putting forth an impressive defensive effort and holding their rivals to only 2 points. Plagued by injuries and missed opportunities in the final seconds of the game, the girls lost by two points. Emma Loughton scored 10 points, Jenna Dhillon added eight, and Stephanie Wong-Harrison received player of the game honours for her impressive defensive efforts.

This week, the girls play two home games against the Mt. Doug Rams and a tough Oak Bay squad on Wednesday at 4:15 pm.

Senior Boys Basketball
by Ian Hyde-Lay

Another week and another missed opportunity for the Senior boys team.

The January 27-28 Brentwood-Shawnigan “Countdown to the Playoffs” featured five provincially ranked AA teams, in addition to eventual winners, BC AAA#9 Mt. Douglas. SMUS opened its account against Holy Cross, taking a long time to subdue the stubborn Crusaders 66-45. A solid first-half shooting display alleviated a slow start, as, behind Joe Erlic, the team connected on seven first half triples to take a 36-27 lead into the break.

Holy Cross recovered to within six points on two different occasions late in the third quarter, but some timely hoops from Monty Fraser-Brown made the SMUS lead safe.

The win moved SMUS into the quarterfinals against BC AA#8 Southridge, with a chance for the Jags to avenge a narrow loss to the same opponent back in December at the ISA Tournament. A reasonable start, with more solid shooting, this time by Dawit Workie and Liam MacLure, suggested a win could be in the cards, but it was not to be. Though up 37-32 at halftime, and then 40-33 early in the third period, poor perimeter defence and even worse defensive rebounding shifted momentum and gifted the Storm multiple baskets. Down eight with a few minutes to play, SMUS scraped back to tie the game at 71 with 33 seconds left on the clock. However, yet another missed blockout allowed Southridge the winning points, with guard Ben Severeide then adding two additional free throws in the final seconds for a 75-71 win.

SMUS came back for a 56-40 win over Shawnigan the next morning, behind Fraser-Brown’s 19 points.

The team, shorthanded somewhat due to injury, and likely fatigued from a demanding month of games, will now take a week long break before returning to action February 4 vs RC Palmer of Richmond.

Junior Boys Basketball
by Ritch Primrose

The Junior boys basketball team competed in a very strong field at the 2012 edition of the Claremont Spartan Invitational. The tournament featured two provincially-ranked teams.

The team opened competition against the Dover Bay Dolphins from Nanaimo. SMUS started strong with a balanced scoring attack and never looked back. As always, the game included the vaunted SMUS press defence, which generated several turn-overs and transition points. Jeremy Chan acted as the floor general from the point, and chipped in five points on top of seven assists. Danny Wu led all scorers with thirteen points, while Matt Rud had eleven, and Jordan Lane added ten points.

Saturday afternoon’s semi-final was against the Walnut Grove Gators, a provincially ranked mainland powerhouse. The Blue Jags had another strong start, playing with a level of energy the Gators could not match. The boys got hot, hitting a flurry of three-pointers early in the game, and playing stingy team defence.
The offensive explosion continued into the second half, with Michael Baart and Jason Scully leading the scoring charge, while Matt Rud anchored the defence. The Gators were able to mount a late game charge, exacerbated by an ankle injury to Rud, which would put him out for the game, and the remainder of the tournament.
The team battled hard until the final horn, and demonstrated resilience in holding off Walnut Grove’s late game rally. The final scoresheet boasted a robust nine three-pointers for the Jags—a season high. After playing arguably their best game of the season, the team was ready for the final.

The Jags were matched up against BC #2 ranked Claremont in the championship game, which would be a tall task on any day, made worse with two starting players sitting with injuries. Much to the Blue Jags’ credit they were able to play with the Spartans for the first half, with Michael Baart defending well against Claremont’s top scorer and the rest of the team executing the team defensive plan well.

A couple of missed lay-ups by the boys, coupled with two late three-pointers from the Spartans, put the Jags down by 11 at half-time—a clear message that SMUS can play with Claremont. With two key players missing, it is also a harbinger of better things to come.

The second half of the game started off rough for the Jags, with Claremont running the score up 20-points. While the boys managed to prevent the floodgates from opening too wide, things did not get much easier, and the Jags had to settle for the silver.

Despite falling to their city rivals in the final, the tournament must be measured as a major success, with a ranked win, and solid half against Claremont while shorthanded. Jason Scully was deservedly named to the tournament all-star team, and mention should also be given to Max Pollen for his effort over the course of the weekend.

This week, the Blue Jags will be in action against Mt. Doug Monday, will travel to Belmont Wednesday, and on to Spectrum Thursday for league action. On Saturday, the team will host RC Palmer from Richmond.

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