The Middle School season came to an end, but not before the Grade 7/8 girls team captured the city championship. In a tense semifinal, SMUS defeated Gordon Head 49-44. In what was a see-saw battle, the Blue Jags led by 10 points at half time, only to see the Grizzlies then get back to 28-28. However, full court SMUS pressure in the fourth quarter generated some steals and easy baskets to seal the victory.
In the final versus Dunsmuir, the Blue Jags avenged two earlier narrow defeats to the Dragons. In a physical, scrappy affair, the team maintained its composure with all players making key contributions. While another slow SMUS third quarter allowed Dunsmuir back into the game, the Blue Jags then went on a 12-2 run to win decisively by 40-28.
Meanwhile, the Senior girls looked to maintain their unbeaten record and win a second consecutive Victoria Christmas Invitational title.
First up, the Blue Jags had to negotiate a tricky league game versus Royal Bay. A comfortable halftime lead slowly melted away, before some timely free throw shooting and a strong performance from Taylor Noel secured a four-point win.
Then, in the annual Victoria Tip-Off Tournament, SMUS overcame a loose start to upend Port Coquitlam’s Gleneagle. This resulted in a quarterfinal matchup versus Southridge, with the Storm keen on revenging its ISA final loss the previous week.
Another fast start had the Blue Jags in control, before foul trouble and a pesky opposition press combined to close the gap. With four minutes remaining, Southridge found enough space to hit two crucial trifectas. These made the difference, with the Storm then going on to win its next two games to capture the championship.
SMUS did rally from the disappointment to record comfortable wins against Sir Winston Churchill and Mission. Georgia Haydock, Meredith Selwood and Zoe Lott worked well together in the post, while Samantha Cuell was solid at guard.
The Senior boys opened their league account on December 5 versus Claremont, but were unable to capitalize on a solid start. The second quarter saw the visiting Spartans score 21 unanswered points.
SMUS then fared better on the ensuing weekend, with a late Ty Olynyk three-point bomb making the difference in an exciting 49-48 victory over Southridge. Newcomer Elvis Duru was a force on the boards, while the team defense was solid from start to finish.
The next morning, the Blue Jags were back in action versus Pacific Academy, with Olynyk, Duru and Kelvin Wong instrumental in a 66-61 win over the AA No. 9-ranked Breakers.
SMUS takes part in the Gary Taylor Invitational at Oak Bay December 14-16.
The Junior boys built nicely on its opening weekend tournament title, moving to 2-0 in league play after defeating both Spectrum and Vic High by double digit margins. Noah Helman continues to be a force on the boards and in the scoring column.
Upcoming for the team is a huge challenge in the opening round of the Gary Taylor Junior Tournament, with the Blue Jags drawn against B.C. No. 1-ranked Vancouver College in opening round play.
The Junior girls squad struggled to get on track in its game against Pacific Christian School, despite the best efforts of Marina Fabris.
The Junior girls development team opened league play with victories over both Edward Milne (32-24) and Vic High (58-8). Guards Jessie Cheng and Marbella Rodriguez-Ramirez carried the scoring load, with Ellie Ross, Anna Brinham and Elle Nelson contributing well on the boards and at the defensive end.
The Junior boys development team made the long road trip to Sooke December 7 for its game versus Edward Milne. The host Wolverines’ swarming press broke open a tight game late in the third quarter. Joonha Yang was SMUS’s top performer.
Holiday wishes to all from SMUS Athletics. Vivat!