The Senior boys basketball team just completed an extensive Christmas/New Year’s exhibition schedule, competing against some of the best teams in Western Canada.
The Blue Jags’ rise to #1 in the BC AA rankings, courtesy of a 56-53 win over Lambrick Park on December 10th, did not last long, as a five-point loss to Richmond’s RC Palmer followed only three days later.
And, while SMUS recovered to beat Wellington the next day, an opening round December 19 loss to Mt. Douglas in the Oak Bay Tournament left something of a sour taste. However, two good bounce back performances, first against Cowichan and then AAA #3 Fleetwood Park of Surrey, proved to be a nice present as the team hit the holiday break with an overall record of 10-3.
2014 opened with SMUS hosting its own highly competitive Invitational tournament, featuring teams from Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. The Blue Jags, behind Jason Scully’s career high 30-point game, first defeated Cowichan 66-58, then romped home against Sheldon Williams of Regina.
These two wins confirmed a semifinal place, with the result of a final pool game against Claremont set to determine placings. In a tremendous contest, with bruising defense from both sides very much to the fore, SMUS, though up 28-26 at intermission and then 44-38 with six minutes to play, was not quite able to hang on. Costly missed layups and free throws stalled the attack, with the Spartans taking advantage to prevail 51-46.
Now facing Alberta powerhouse Harry Ainlay in the semifinal, SMUS again struggled to capitalize on a narrow halftime lead. Instead, Edmonton’s Titans unleashed a blistering transition game en route to a 15-2 third quarter run and a 50-43 lead they would not relinquish.
In the bronze medal game, with Scully and Jordan Lane combining for 37 points, SMUS built an eleven-point, second-half lead, gave it all away in short order, but then fought back to take control. The 70-60 victory was just reward for the efforts of all the players over five tough games.
Scully completed an outstanding weekend by claiming a tournament All-Star, while Lane was named a Team Award winner.
SMUS, now #2 in the AA pools, looks forward this week to games vs Oak Bay and Belmont, before hosting the Police Tournament January 16-18.
The developmental team, though dropping a narrow 63-60 encounter to Reynolds on December 17, returns to action January 7 vs Tier 2 league leaders Stelly’s. Also on the horizon is a demanding trip to Courtenay and the GP Vanier tournament. When not on Senior boys team duty, both Alex Caton and David Lee have played extremely well.