With the winter season of play drawing to a close, the basketball season culminated in various BC championships, while rowing took place at Elk Lake.
In Langley March 2-5, at the Senior Girls AA provincials, No. 12 seeded SMUS dropped an opening round matchup 86-62 to Vernon, despite a career high 29 points by Leah Sparkman and solid outings from Aveen Glen and Mia Roberts. A sluggish offensive performance the following day then proved to be the difference in a close loss to Okanagan Mission.
However, the team bounced back to drop Trail’s JL Crowe, thanks to strong rebounding and fierce defensive pressure. However, in the finale versus Little Flower Academy, second chance points were the difference as the Blue Jags let a seven-point fourth quarter lead slip away in an eventual 59-54 defeat.
A week later, SMUS looked to defend its B.C. AA Boys title. An easy Round 1 win over Kelly Road of Prince George propelled the Blue Jags into a quarterfinal versus Lower Mainland champion St. Patrick’s. While the Celtics scrambled back from an early deficit to draw level at halftime, SMUS used a dominant third quarter and some stifling defence to regain control en route to a 67-48 win.
This result moved the team into the semifinal, with heavily favoured and top seeded G.W. Graham lying in wait. Undeterred, the Blue Jags produced their best performance of the season, thanks to balanced scoring and a real ability to guard the three point line. The 75-62 final sent shockwaves through the tournament, and sent SMUS back to the championship game – this time against Collingwood.
Unfortunately, perhaps drained mentally from the night before, SMUS never got into stride against an efficient Cavaliers outfit. A nightmare second quarter basically ended the game as a contest, as Collingwood won comfortably.
Jamison Schulz-Franco, Ryan Hindson and Lucas De Vries were named to the All-Star team.
Despite the loss, the Senior boys can take away many positives from the season and especially the playoff drive. Indeed, reaching a third consecutive B.C. AA tournament final was a significant accomplishment, given the fact that no other school in the province, regardless of tier, has made more than one final in the same 2014-2016 period.
Check out more photos of the Senior boys final of the B.C. AA Tournament at the SMUS Photo Gallery.
On the water, SMUS entered 14 crews in the Elk Lake Regatta, qualifying for ten finals. All involved gained experience in a high quality competition against both Island and Mainland opponents. Special congratulations to Nathan Yang and Sasha Pryce-Baff who captured a bronze medal in the Junior Boys B 2X. Also, Sun-Eui Choi and Franca Pilchner must be commended for rowing in the stroke seats of the Junior Boys 8+ and Junior Mens A 2X.
The entire team now looks forward to a pair of Spring Break training camps in advance of the Maple Bay Regatta on April 16.
Check out more photos from the Elk Lake Regatta at the SMUS Photo Gallery.
More Athletics News
Of the spring sports, Senior girls soccer opened its exhibition season with a 1-0 victory over Brentwood, courtesy of an Angel Tsui goal. The various rugby sides enjoyed a series of successful hitouts, while track and field, tennis, golf, cricket, badminton and sailing will soon start their own competitions.
On the Alumni front, congratulations to Graeme Hyde-Lay ’15, who, as a major contributor to all three SMUS provincial championship teams in 2014-2015, was named Male High School Athlete of the Year at the recent Sport BC Awards banquet.
Also, Mike Fuailefau ’10 played a starring role at the inaugural Vancouver 7s, scoring multiple tries and defending strongly as Canada won five of its six matches at the World Rugby event.
Finally, boxer Jelena Mrdjenovich ’00, thanks to a dramatic 10th round knockdown, won a narrow decision over Argentinian Edith Matthysse to reclaim the WBA and WBC featherweight titles.
(photos by Stephanie Anter and Kyle Slavin)