It was another frenetic week of basketball, with multiple SMUS teams in action and with the school playing host to the 37th annual Victoria City Police Tournament.
The Senior girls continued their fine form in recording a first-ever Police title. In a quality field which included five provincially ranked AA teams, the Blue Jags ground their way past Ballenas in opening round action before accounting for Mark Isfeld 45-38 in a bruising semi-final.
This latter victory set up a rematch versus Pacific Christian School, which had won a previous Christmas encounter against SMUS quite comfortably. This time, however, was different. In front of a noisy and jam-packed single gym crowd, the Jags, led by tournament All-Star Leah Sparkman and MVP Mia Roberts, were not to be denied. The teams were never separated by more than a handful of points, and it was not until Roberts connected on a last minute left-handed runner that the 49-44 final score could be confirmed.
With the wins, each of them a product of a real team effort, SMUS moved to No. 8 in the BC AA rankings, up five places from a week ago. The team now gets ready for an exhibition matchup versus AAA Claremont and then the Southridge Invitational in White Rock January 29-30.
The Senior boys also enjoyed a successful week, if not quite matching their female counterparts. After a straightforward league win versus Claremont, the team entered the Police Tournament. A nervy 69-67 victory over H.J. Cambie moved the Jags into the semi-final against a very talented West Vancouver side. Up 34-30 just after the break, a SMUS upset seemed possible, but some offensive woes in the final quarter proved costly. However, the squad did bounce back the next day to defeat Maple Ridge 61-49 and claim third place.
Ryan Hindson led the team in scoring and was named an All-Star. Jasper Bosley, Sammy De Vries and Bryn Haydock also enjoyed good tournaments.
Indeed, SMUS rode the momentum from the Maple Ridge game into its first league matchup with Lambrick Park. With the Lions recently moving top of the B.C. AA poll, and with the healthy rivalry between the two programs, all the ingredients were in place for a exciting contest. So it proved, with the Jags blasting out of the gate to lead 13-0 en route to a 69-58 triumph. Hindson, with 28 points and 12 boards, had a monster game, while Lucas De Vries controlled the paint and registered six blocks.
Somewhat surprisingly, the win vaulted the Blue Jags all the way to No. 2 in the B.C. AA rankings, in advance of a January 23 home clash versus new No. 1 G.W. Graham of Chilliwack.
The Junior boys eased by Spectrum in league play before moving on to the ISA Tournament. After a narrow win versus host St. John’s, the team met B.C. No. 7 St. George’s. Playing its best game of the season, SMUS led by one with 1:30 to play but just failed to complete the upset. In the bronze-medal game, a slow first half versus Southridge was matched by a furious second half rally, capped by a Ty Olynyk bomb that forced OT with less than a second to play. However, the Storm prevailed narrowly in the extra session.
Elsewhere, both the Senior and Junior boys development teams took part in their respective ISA events, while both Junior girls teams continued to make progress in league play.
(photos by Brady Doland and Kyle Slavin)