The basketball season moved into full operation, with multiple teams in action the week of December 2-8.
The provincially AA #2 ranked Senior boys split a pair of games, defeating Gulf Islands 78-52 in exhibition play before falling in opening round league action 62-52 to Island AAAA favourite Claremont. Both contests were good preparation for an important upcoming December 10 matchup vs arch rival Lambrick Park.
The Senior boys developmental squad enjoyed an extremely successful seven days, beginning with a Tier 2 61-47 road win at Parkland. Then, sparked by stingy defence, an opportunistic attack and good overall team play, SMUS captured the PCS Invitational tournament. In this event, the Blue Jags defeated Duncan Christian 63-47 and Abbotsford Christian 65-49 in pool play before downing Reynolds 50-35 in the final. Point guard Callum Montgomery led the offence each time out, with David Lee providing timely support. Posts Saeed Shokoya, David Boroto and Michael Cernucan all did a fine job rebounding and defending the post.
The Junior boys team took part in the Victoria Tip Off Tournament, dropping a hard fought 43-32 encounter to an absolutely massive GP Vanier side. This game was a real contrast in styles, with SMUS scrambling and trapping all over the court in an attempt to negate the size difference. Next up was a rematch vs Gulf Islands, with the Blue Jags scoring early and often to reverse in style last week’s double digit loss to the same opponents. Then, following some real momentum shifts, the team dropped a 58-52 overtime decision to Brentwood. Throughout the weekend, Ben Keep displayed some neat touches, while Jasper Bosley worked extremely hard.
The Junior girls played their opening games in the same Victoria Tip Off event. Following a first round bye, the team, led by Mia Roberts and Aveen Glen, pulled away from GP Vanier in the second half and secured a place in the semi-finals against Claremont. Behind Charlie Colby’s rebounding and Robyn Noel’s outside shooting, the Blue Jags won 45-29. While the subsequent final against a powerful Oak Bay outfit proved a bridge too far, the girls, sparked by Olivia Donald’s gritty play, took much value from the weekend. Indeed, the tournament was a great way to start the season. Everyone contributed to the solid performances and should be well prepared for the start of league action.
The Senior girls took part in the ISA Tournament, unfortunately played in some rather frosty conditions at Shawnigan after a gym heating malfunction. Nonetheless, all the competing teams made light of the conditions and produced some good basketball.
In its opening game, SMUS, thanks to a dominant second quarter and behind Sarah Loughton’s 18 points, defeated St. John’s. This resulted in a semifinal matchup vs nemesis Crofton House. A 30-20 halftime lead reflected accurately a controlled and positive Blue Jags’ performance, but a disastrous third period, with the team outscored by twenty points, settled the affair. A late revival of sorts was not enough, with some last minute opposition free throws confirming a 60-48 final score.
The bronze medal match vs Mulgrave was a scrappy, low scoring affair. Loughton (21 points), Jenna Dhillon and Isabel Gudgeon led the way in a 43-36 victory.
Overall, despite the semi-final disappointment, there were many positives. Sam Colby and Emma Loughton supplied plenty of tenacious defence. Claire Williams provided rebounding and inside scoring. Christina Sipos made some timely shots while newcomer Beta Willeboordse showed flashes of athleticism and passing ability.
SMUS now faces BC AA #1 Lambrick Park on December 10 before competing in the Victoria Christmas Classic December 13-14 at Mt. Douglas.