Athletics Week in Review: January 22

It was a busy and successful week on the sporting front, with basketball and squash in the spotlight.

Basketball

Congratulations are due the Senior girls hoop squad, which played extremely well in winning the Victoria City Police Tournament. A complete team effort, spearheaded by MVP Isabella Leong and All-Star Zoe Lott, moved smoothly through the gears in defeating Oak Bay 57-52, Ballenas 71-40 and then West Vancouver 57-46. Meredith Selwood enjoyed one of the best weekends of her career, providing relentless defence, solid rebounding and several key hoops.

With the win, SMUS should enter the provincial top ten AA rankings, with key league games versus Lambrick Park on the immediate horizon.

On the Senior boys side, SMUS fell just short of completing a SMUS Police Tournament double. After beating JH Bruns of Winnipeg 76-51, with Tristan Kuhn notching a career high 37 points, the Blue Jags then went on to edge a feisty Seaquam outfit. Several long, fourth-quarter threes from All-Star Ty Olynyk were the difference in the 55-50 scoreline. In the final, versus BC AA No. 2 King George, SMUS suffered through a bad first quarter before methodically chipping away at a 16-point deficit. All-Star Noah Helman had a game-high 21 points, while Will Kinahan hit some huge shots as part of the comeback. However, the Dragons did manage to hit a long bomb, with six seconds remaining in the game, to win 45-44.

At the ISAs, following a disappointing league loss to Oak Bay, the Junior boys rebounded nicely to claim the tournament title for the first time since 2013. Liam Erlic sparked an opening-round victory versus Shawnigan Lake, with MVP Izzy Helman’s 32 points and strong interior play by Tadeo Allerding then required in a 69-64 win over host Mulgrave. In the final, the Blue Jags edged out a dogged Brentwood side 53-47.

Meanwhile, the Junior girls split a pair of league games, beating Oak Bay 49-28, thanks to a fine defensive effort, before falling away in the second half to Belmont. The following day, at the ISAs in Vancouver, the Blue Jags, after defeating Shawnigan Lake in opening round play, took on BC No. 4-ranked York House. In a terrific battle, the hosts just prevailed, despite the best efforts of Claudia Murr and Yukina Hashimoto. SMUS, which did bounce back to beat Collingwood in the bronze medal game, look well-placed for a successful Island playoff run.

The Grade 9 Boys development team enjoyed a fine 49-47 win at Oak Bay, roaring back in the second half to overcome a big deficit courtesy of an 18-0 run. Jonathan Nguyen and Dave Duru provided the bulk of the scoring. The subsequent Grade 9 Emerald tournament, hosted by Vancouver College, was an eye-opening experience for many, as the level of play was much faster and more intense than in league games. Nonetheless, though going winless versus the hosts, Steveston-London and Burnaby South, every SMUS team member gained many valuable lessons. These will be put to the test in a crucial upcoming league encounter against Parkland, with the winner moving on to the City playoffs.

Squash

Twenty-three SMUS athletes took part in the Jericho Junior Open in Vancouver over the weekend. A whole rack of strong performances saw gold medals for Alden Weymar (Boys U15), Stuart K. (Boys U15), Jay Herring (U17 Boys) and David Baker (U19B Boys). Others on the podium, in their respective divisions, were Lucas Q., Owen Vincent, Christian Yuen, Sofia Quon and Ellie Ross.

(photos by Mark Catto, Norm Lebus, Chris Hanebury and Kyle Slavin)

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