It has been a very busy two-week period, with basketball seasons in full playoff mode and SMUS co-hosting the prestigious Pacific Northwest Jesters squash tournament.
On court, the Senior girls traveled to Comox for the Island AA championships. The team performed extremely well, with its trademark depth making the difference. Wins over Ballenas and Alberni placed the Blue Jags in the final versus host Mark Isfeld. A blistering start saw All-Star Georgia Haydock notch 18 of her game high 28 in the first quarter, while MVP Zoe Lott was an all-round force inside in what was a comprehensive 72-50 victory.
SMUS, as Island winner, now moves on to the BC AA Tournament February 28 – March 3 in Langley. St. Thomas Aquinas, from North Vancouver, will provide the first round opposition.
At the Junior girls level, the Island finals did not go as hoped with the Blue Jags, ranked South No. 2 and favoured to advance to provincials, never managing to get on track. A disappointing opening round 34-32 loss to Ballenas was then followed by a second narrow defeat against Nanaimo District Secondary. A subsequent victory over Wellington, with Kenzi Farish and Claudia Murr prominent, provided some consolation.
The Junior girls development squad wrapped up its season as well, dropping a 46-33 bronze medal decision to Spectrum. Jessie Cheng, Anna Brinham and Marbella Rodriguez-Ramirez provided the bulk of the scoring.
The Senior boys kept their season afloat, winning three of four games to place third in each of the South Island and Island tournaments. All-Stars Ty Olynyk and Ephraim Hsu played particularly well, with Matt Hagkull also contributing some key baskets and defensive stops. The results in a normal year would have qualified the team for provincials, but instead, this time round, SMUS must first negotiate a challenge game against Sahali.
The Junior boys Island event was a thrill a minute, as the Blue Jags opened with a comfortable victory over Dover Bay. A real chance went begging when the team dropped a 55-52 quarterfinal against Shawnigan. After battling back through the consolation side, SMUS had one last chance for provincial qualification, but fell to Claremont. As has been the case all season, Noah Helman and Will Kinahan performed extremely well.
At the BC Jesters Pacific Northwest Junior Squash Championships, both Daniel Bennett (Boys U13B) and Katie Hooton (Girls U15B) won their events, while Sofia Quon captured bronze at U15 A level.
Lucas Quon, Louis Champion, Ryan Chow, Jay Herring, Alex Brown and Brooke Herring were others who did extremely well in what is a very high-level tournament.
With SMUS being one of the host venues, fans were treated to three days of superb action in the Brian Graves Squash Centre.
Looking ahead to spring sports, badminton and tennis tryouts are well underway, girls rugby and soccer are practicing already, and boys rugby continues to prepare for its March 11-26 tour to Australia.