The past two weeks of basketball certainly been busy and action packed, with numerous exciting games on tap as the SMUS teams positioned themselves for the playoffs.
Junior Girls Basketball
It was the Junior girls who take pride of place this week. Entering the city tournament as the second seed, the team opened in fine style, registering an amazing 52 first-half points on the way to a 77-22 win over Lambrick Park. Mia Roberts (25) and Leah Sparkman (19) led the attack in what was a total team effort.
The semifinal was a different kettle of fish. A big and physical Stelly’s team made life difficult, with some hurried SMUS shooting contributing to a low-scoring grinder of a first half. Fortunately, the Blue Jags, sparked by Aveen Glen, stepped up their game after intermission, holding the Stingers to a measly six points in what finished a 41-19 win.
With the victory, SMUS secured a coveted berth to the Islands, its first in a good number of years.
In the City Championships final, the Blue Jags hosted Oak Bay. Following a tense, low-scoring first quarter, Roberts and Glen added four trifectas as SMUS took a 23-12 halftime lead. The team then stormed out in the third period, ripping off a thirteen point run to go up 41-18. From there, thanks to good focus and concentration, the players, with Olivia Donald and defensive ace Charlie Colby leading the way, repelled every Breakers’ fightback to win impressively 50-31.
All involved may be extremely proud of capturing the Junior Girls City Championship title — the first ever for SMUS!
Congratulations to the entire squad and good luck in opening round Island play on February 20 vs GP Vanier.
The Junior girls developmental team has been improving steadily since the New Year, performing extremely well in a tournament in Maple Ridge and, since then, defeating comfortably both Parkland and St. Margaret’s in league play. The latter affair was a tight defensive struggle up to half time before the Blue Jags started hitting from the outside in the third quarter.
Stephanie Dunbar, Sun Eui Choi, Kassia DeSouza and Sasha Boehm are just some of the squad who are improving with every outing.
Junior Boys Basketball
The Junior boys took part in the city tournament, fresh of a nail biting final round of league games. Seeded #4, the Blue Jags took on #5 Claremont in the quarterfinals. Jasper Bosley’s 20 points anchored a strong defensive effort, with Alec Keech, Jamison Schulz-Franco and Ben Keep well to the fore.
Hari Ikonomou then led a gusty effort against top seeded Lambrick Park in the semifinal round. A third quarter fightback saw SMUS claw back to within eight points before running out of steam.
With the loss, the team faced a potential season ending cross over game vs Spectrum. In a nervy, emotional see-saw battle, the Blue Jags’ switch to a zone defence negated the Thunder’s star guards and allowed SMUS to overturn a one point halftime deficit. The pressure finally produced some game changing turnovers, with Timmy Qi and Jason Liao caching in en route to a satisfying 51-38 victory.
With the win, the team secured a starting place in the upcoming Island Tournament, opening February 20 against North #1 Dover Bay. Given from where the team started in November, when 6’3″ post Lucas de Vries suffered a season ending ankle leg injury just twenty seconds into the first game, this is a notable achievement.
The Junior boys developmental team, bolstered by the introduction of Sam Perelmuter, bested Claremont 50-29 to even its league record at 4-4. Sean Lider was his usual productive self in notching 23 points, while Shaco Chi rebounded well. The group is gelling well in anticipation of post season action.
Senior Girls Basketball
Meanwhile, the Senior girls competed in the South Island tournament, entering the event as the #4 Victoria seed. Strong efforts from both Claire Williams and Jenna Dhillon propelled the Blue Jags to an opening 66-57 win over Brentwood. However, in the semifinal, despite a solid outing from Isabelle Gudgeon, the team fell to Lambrick Park.
A Saturday morning crossover game represented a real chance to turn the tables on Parkland, but it was not to be. Though leading most of the game, SMUS faltered down the stretch, falling 55-46. Williams (18) again led the scoring.
Faced with a “do or die” matchup with Shawnigan, the efforts of Williams, Dhillon and Emma Loughton (42 combined points) proved just enough, as the team scrambled home 56-43.
All this means that SMUS must now return to Shawnigan on Monday, February 17 to challenge North #4. The winner will advance to the Island Tournament while the loser will be finished. In similar elimination matchups over the past few years, the Blue Jags have a good track record, so will enter the game with confidence.
Senior Boys Basketball
The Senior boys completed their regular season and South Island tournament, experiencing the whole gamut of highs and lows. First, up 54-38 and in total control in league action vs Lambrick Park, the team, normally sound defensively, somehow conceded 31 fourth quarter points to eventually lose in overtime. However, in front of a packed house on Seniors night, against rival Oak Bay and led by Jordan Lane’s terrific all round performance, SMUS came back from 19-6 behind to scrape home 58-56.
In the South Island Tournament, with seeding for the full Island competition on the line, SMUS moved easily past first Shawnigan and then Brentwood before tripping up for a second time to Lambrick Park. A nightmare 4-32 three point shooting display submarined a solid defensive effort in the 56-51 loss.
As a result, SMUS, now #2 in the AA provincial rankings, starts Island play as South 2. An opening round match-up vs North 3 Kwalikum awaits on February 20.