The Senior girls concluded a very busy week, hosting both a return league game against Parkland and then the Victoria City Police Tournament.
While the Blue Jags continue to make progress, particularly on the defensive end, turnovers against the Panthers’ pressure led to their demise. Jenna Dhillon, with 11 points, was top SMUS scorer in what ended up a 61-48 defeat.
The Police Tournament featured a mixed bag of teams, including most of the top AA programs on the Island. SMUS opened against Ballenas, with the Whalers’ disciplined offense and accurate shooting proving too much to handle.
The Blue Jags rallied for their next encounter, jumping out to an early lead and never looking back against Point Grey of Vancouver. Emma Loughton (13 points) and Claire Williams (12 points) topped the scoring.
With the win, SMUS placed second in its pool and moved on to face Southridge of Surrey. As the Storm had beaten the Blue Jags in December at a Christmas Tipoff Tournament, the home team was hungry for revenge. Up 23-16 at the break, and with Loughton again to the fore at both the offensive and defensive ends, SMUS hung on for a deserved 42-38 victory. Williams again showed flashes around the basket, working hard to seal and then finish her layups. All the Blue Jags got on the scoresheet, with Avnashi Dhillon chipping in with a timely six points.
In its final game of the tournament, SMUS took on local rival PCS. The Pacers boast a talented lineup with a steady point guard and several decent wing players. However, continuing to build on their strong play, the Blue Jags hung tough for the first two quarters, going to the break down only 31-26. However, PCS pulled away in the second half to win 68-43. Williams, Dhillon and Loughton combined for 29 points in a losing effort.
Nonetheless, a 6th place finish was commendable for a young and developing team. SMUS faces PCS again, this time in league play, on Thursday, January 23 at 5:45pm.
The Junior boys team also had a demanding schedule over the past ten days, splitting a pair of league games with Belmont and Lambrick Park, before attending the ISA Tournament at Shawnigan.
In the opener, the players struggled against the Southridge 1-3-1 zone, and, despite 22 points from Jasper Bosley, fell 49-31. However, SMUS bounced back to defeat St. John’s-Ravenscourt 45-31 and then Brentwood 38-32 to claim 4th place.
Then, in a crucial game, the Blue Jags evened their local league record at 3-3 by beating Stelly’s. Though down two at halftime, the team – behind Timmy Qi’s fine outside shooting – rallied to win 48-31.
Match-ups against Reynolds, Mt. Doug and PCS remain before the squad starts in the City playoffs.
The Junior boys developmental team participated in its own ISA tournament, travelling to St. George’s. The boys were competitive throughout, finishing 1-2, with one of the losses an over-time heart breaker. Highlights included the tenacious and improved play of Loris Friedli, a 24-point (including five trifectas) effort by team leader Sean Lider, and consistently strong defense. The squad plays at home this week against Oak Bay and Victoria High.
Finally, the Senior boys developmental team, tied for first place in the local Tier 2 league with a 6-1 record, traveled to Courtenay to play in the GP Vanier Towhees tournament. This event would be a real acid test, as it featured numerous strong schools from all across the province.
Despite the efforts of Jeremy Chan and Player of the Game Saeed Shokoya, SMUS found Nanaimo’s Wellington too much to handle on Day 1. Although playing better the following morning, and with Grant Nicholson notching a career high 20 points, the Blue Jags then fell 71-49 to Eric Hamber of Vancouver.
Determined to finish on a positive note, the team did defeat Timberline of Campbell River 68-53. Chan was named Player of the Game, and Alex Caton continued to show flashes of brilliance with a 23-point performance.