Athletics Review: Wall-to-Wall Basketball

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February 8, 2012

Junior Girls Developmental Basketball
by Amanda Daum

The Junior girls developmental team lost their game this week to a strong Oak Bay squad. The girls played very well despite being down several teammates. It was great to see players step up and try out new positions as well as new players taking the lead — it is what developmental basketball is all about. The team looks forward to two league games next week at SMUS.

Junior Boys Basketball
by Ritch Primrose

The Junior boys basketball team had a full week with two league games and an exhibition match against a strong team from the mainland.

The Belmont Bulldogs were up first, with the Blue Jags travelling to Langford to play an away league game. With the game falling on the same night as the Large Ensembles Concert, the SMUS boys were playing with seven players, and each would have to do his job well to ensure victory. The boys answered the call with a strong first quarter and Jordan Lane leading the way. While Belmont hung around, staying within nine at the half, they pulled away in the third quarter. Danny Wu started to heat things up with his shooting and never cooled down, with 15 second half points. Michael Baart turned in a noteworthy performance and Saeed Shokoya was a rebounding force inside. The final score was 50-31 in favour of SMUS.

Later in the week, the Blue Jags travelled to play Spectrum, and with injuries and illness, were once again playing with a short bench. Max Pollen led the charge early, playing a fast-paced style of basketball reminiscent of Steve Nash ’92. Jordan Lane added 10 first-half points, and the Jags led by 20 at the half. Jeremy Chan continued the attack with six second half points, while Michael Baart added nine. The Blue Jags proved too strong for Spectrum, finishing the game with a 71-34 victory. Every player on the SMUS roster got on the scoresheet—a rare accomplishment in junior hoops.

After two games going relatively unchallenged, Saturday’s game against RC Palmer was a change of pace. Palmer, led by two standout guards, came out gunning with a flurry of three-pointers to start the game. The Jags began flat and a combination of cold shooting and costly turn-overs resulted in the team trailing for most of the first half.

RC Palmer sustained their hot shooting into the second half, while the Jags continued to struggle. Matt Rud was a bright spot in what was an ugly game for the boys, finishing with 22 points. Michael Baart chipped in 14, and Max Pollen had 13 in a losing effort. Despite a late run, led by aggressive defensive play, the Jags dropped the game 74-64.

This week, the team has three critical league games that will set the stage for next week’s playoffs. They are at Oak Bay on Monday, host Claremont Wednesday and Lambrick Park Friday.

Senior Girls Basketball
by Lindsay Brooke

The Senior girls basketball team played in the Big Kahuna Cup at York House in Vancouver this past weekend. It is the top tournament in the province and features the best teams, all trying to make a strong showing before playoffs. The Blue Jags were in a pool with the #5 ranked team, Sahali, and the #2 ranked team, Brittania. In the opening game with Sahali, SMUS started slowly, down 9-3 after the first quarter. A strong second quarter had the Jags up 33-28 at the break. It was a game of momentum shifts and with solid defensive effort in the fourth quarter, the girls hung on to victory, 56-48. Madison Hadfield and Sophia Ducharme each had 17 points in the win, while Allie White chipped in with 10 points.

In the early game on Friday morning, SMUS faced off against defending AA champs, Brittania. Sticking to a solid defensive game plan, the Blue Jags held the Bruins to 55 points — a tough feat against an offensively explosive team. The Blue Jags trailed by just one point heading into the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, a cold shooting streak ended the Jags chances, and they came up short: 55-49. Despite the result it was a great effort by the team. Abbey Piazza led all scorers with 14 points. Ducharme continued her hot shooting, adding 12 points and a solid 10 rebounds, and Allie White chipped in with another 10 points.

The final two crossover games pitted the Jags up against the #1 ranked team, Holy Cross. It would not be the team’s best effort, as they got down early and were not up to the challenge of a tough, physical game. They managed only six points in the first half, and were down 35-6 at the break. After a tough halftime talk, the girls responded and won the second half. The final score was 55-28. Piazza had eight points and Ducharme finished with nine rebounds.

Argyle, a strong AAA team was the last opponent in the tournament. Down Piazza due to a migraine, the team played without their leading scorer and floor general. The Pipers proved to be too much, destroying the Blue Jags 81-29. However, the team took many positives out of the game, including ample playing time for all the players.

The team has two league games this week against PCS and Lambrick Park.

Watch Coach Brooke, Madison Hadfield and Ali Pollen talk about this week in basketball.

Grade 9 Boys Basketball
by Steve Bates

The Grade 9 boys completed the week with a 1-1 record.

With a shot at the buzzer that circled out of the cylinder, the boys lost 43-42 to the yet unbeaten team from PCS. Jake Wilmott made some key outside shots while Gilberto Garcia was a force on the inside. Despite a great effort, the team could not mount a second half comeback in light of a frantic PCS press.

The second game of the week pitted the 9s against local rival Oak Bay. Despite the absence of several team members, the boys played up tempo and scored in transition. Sparked by a solid inside game from Liam Catto, the team took an eight point victory.

Senior Boys Basketball
by Ian Hyde-Lay

The Senior boys enjoyed a relatively quiet week, taking four days off from practice, though completing one rearranged league game against Edward Milne and an exhibition vs BC AA #9 RC Palmer.

In the first encounter, Trenton Schulz-Franco celebrated his return to the lineup after a long injury absence with 22 points in an 82-44 victory. Though Steve Whillans remained sidelined with illness, Monty Fraser-Brown also notched 22 points, while Wayne Lin, Lewis Liu and Johnny Huang all took advantage of extended minutes and performed well.

The matchup vs RC Palmer was an altogether different kettle of fish, with the Richmond based Griffins, led by 6’4″ star guard Jamie Madewan, full of dangerous offensive talent.

Down seven right at the start, SMUS slowly came into the game, and then, courtesy of the first chunk of post David Lafleur’s career high 32 points, took the lead at 27-20. However, the costly lapses that have plagued the team all season then struck again, with some rash decision making allowing Palmer to go to intermission up 31-27.

Happily, the second half was a different tale. Joe Erlic opened the second half with a trio of three pointers as the game remained close early into the final frame. Then, at 54-54, SMUS, behind guards Mark Yorath and Dawit Workie, put together a dominating game ending run en route to a 72-61 victory.

For SMUS, Liam MacLure did an excellent defensive job in limiting Madewan to just 15 points, nearly 12 under his season average. The return of Derek Hyde-Lay from a nagging back ailment strengthened the team’s defence, rebounding and rotations, while Fraser-Brown continued to display a well-rounded offensive game.

More good news is on the horizon, with Georgios Ikonomou, a provincial Junior All-Star last season, set to return from a broken leg. His competitiveness, quickness and skill will be a welcome tonic as a February 8 league game at Lambrick Park and then playoffs loom.

Thanks to Rob Ducharme for all the great photos!

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