Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
February 21, 2014, Saanich, BC (ISN) – The Lambrick Park Lions and the St. Michaels University School (SMUS) Blue Jags will battle it out Saturday night in the Vancouver Island Senior Boys High School AA Basketball Championship after both teams emerged victorious in their semi-final match-ups on Friday.
Lambrick would advance thanks to a dominating 79-38 win over Brentwood College, while SMUS would take care of business with a 84-65 win over Comox’s Highland Raiders.
Brentwood College’s Cevin Cvitanovich (15) and Lambrick’s Jacob Barnard (24) battle for position under the hoop Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Lions, ranked first on the Island heading into the tournament, would begin things on Thursday with an 82-33 win over Woodlands, while Brentwood would win an opening nail-biter 63-59 over Nanaimo’s John Barsby.
Lambrick point guard Ismail Abdulahi leads the charge against Brentwood in first quarter play Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Lions picked up right where they left off on Friday against Brentwood College, jumping into a 15-10 first quarter lead and then extending that to 38-17 at the half.
Leading the way early for the Lions was Austin Somers, who scored 13 first-half points, 10 of which came in that second quarter. Lambrick’s speedy point guard Ismail Abdulahi also chipped in 11 to pace the Lion’s first half attack.
Lambrick’s Mitch Bryan would finish with 14 points against Brentwood College (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Brentwood was able to neutralize Lambrick’s big man Matt Neufeld in that first half, holding him to just a single basket, but in the third quarter, Neufeld came alive and took over the game, scoring 12 of the Lions points as they outscored Brentwood 27-8 to hold a 65-25 third quarter lead.
Lambrick’s Ismail Abdulahi goes up for 2 of his 16 points in front of Brentwood’s Harrison Backer (10) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
After that, the Lions cruised the rest of the way, resting many of their starters in the fourth quarter and sailing to the easy 79-38 win.
For the Lions, Somers would finish with 18 points, Ismail with 16 and Neufeld and guard Mitch Bryan would net 14 points each.
Quiet in the first half, Lambrick’s Matt Neufeld (33) came alive with 12 of his 14 points in the third quarter, including this basket over Brentwood’s Kadon Ricord (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
For Brentwood, Kadon Ricord would lead the way with 9 points, while freshman Carter Armstrong would score 6.
For the SMUS Blue Jags, their road to the finals was a little tougher on Friday. After easily routing Kwalikum on Thursday 96-37, the Blue Jags perhaps anticipated another easy romp over a Highland team that had defeated Shawnigan Lake Thursday 57-35.
Lambrick’s Ismail Abdulahi goes up for the uncontested layup (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Early on it looked like that would be the case, as SMUS came out and drained their first three, 3-point shots of the game to hold an early lead.
The Raiders would not let that phase them however and they matched the Blue Jags basket for basket and eventually pulled into a 25-15 lead with 1:45 left in the quarter. The Blue Jags would rally though, and when the quarter ended, the teams were tied at 25-25.
Brentwood’s Kadon Ricord (right) had his hands full with Lambrick big man Matt Neufeld in the third quarter Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the second quarter SMUS continued to press and the Highland shooters began to go cold, allowing the Blue Jags to creep into a 42-38 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Blue Jags would show why they were ranked number two on the Island behind Lambrick and would begin to outhustle and outshoot the Raiders, outscoring them 20-10 and jumping into a 62-48 third quarter lead.
SMUS Blue Jag Graeme Hyde-Lay would lead the way for the Blue Jags early against Highland, and would finish with 14 points (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Although the Raiders would play a bit better in the fourth, it was not enough and SMUS would cruise on to the 84-65 win.
Leading the way for the Blue Jags was Danny Wu, who was deadly from the outside, finishing with 20 points. Graeme Hyde-Lay and Jason Scully would chip in 14 each, while Jordan Lane would finish with 13 points on the night.
Highland’s Nic Tancon goes up for 2 of his 17 points against SMUS Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
For Highland, Sam Lewis would lead the way with 23 points, while Nic Tancon, with 17 and Jared Collins, with 11, would round out the Raiders top scorers.
For both Brentwood College and Highland, they have a chance to earn their way into the bronze medal game, and a shot at the third berth in the Provincials, as they move to the consolation brackets on Saturday. Brentwood will face Kwalikum at 10:00 am Saturday, while Highland will meet Barsby at 11:45 am. The winners of those games face-off in the Consolation Final at 5:30 pm.
Highland’s Nic Tancon (23) drives the baseline on SMUS Jason Scully (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
For Lambrick and SMUS, while both teams are now guaranteed spots in the AA Provincials that will be held March 5-8 in Langley, there is still the matter of crowning the Island Champion. That game will take place at 7:15 PM at Lambrick Park High School.