1DX 3616

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

February 26, 2015, Saanich, BC (ISN) – The Oak Bay Senior Boys AAAA basketball team enjoyed a successful beginning to the 65th Annual Vancouver Island AAAA Boys Basketball Championship by routing the Port Alberni Armada 100-32 Thursday afternoon in the opening game for both teams at Mount Doug High School in Saanich.

Oak Bay’s Liam Finnigan drives for two of his 14 points against Alberni Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Bays, ranked #2 in the Province, had no difficulty whatsoever with the Armada, the #4 North Island seed in the tournament, jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead and then going on a late first quarter tear to lead 35-13 at the break.

1DX 3610
Oak Bay’s  Myka Tang-Blumenschein goes up for a shot against Alberni’s Adam Yaredic (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Bays would continue to dominate in the second quarter, especially on defence, limiting the Armada to just four points, resting most of the starters in the process, and boosting their lead to 58-17 at the half.

1DX 3663
Oak Bay’s Alexander Mayrhofer (left) and Alberni’s Elijah Robinson (right) battle for position under the hoop (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

It was more of the same in the third as they Bays extended the lead to 82-24, before scoring another 18 points in the fourth to close out the scoring. They could have had even more, but Head Coach Chris Franklin took mercy on the Alberni squad and had his team hold the ball without taking a shot in their last three possessions.

1DX 3745
Oak Bay’s Sheldon Crisp carris the ball upcourt (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Leading the way for Oak Bay was Liam Finnigan with 14 points, followed closely by Alex Mayrhofer, the Oak Bay Player of the Game, with 13 and Caelan Scott with 12. Sam Moncur had an eight point night to lead the way for Port Alberni.

1DX 3754
Oak Bay’s Atlas St. Paul-Butler would finish with 11 points against Alberni on Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Bays will now move on to play the Cowichan Thunderbirds in a 6:00 pm match-up on Friday evening. The Thunder dismantled the host Mount Doug Rams by a score of 84-54 in the opening game of the tournament Thursday.

1DX 3783
Oak Bay’s Madhu McConnell (5) drives to the hoop for 2 of his 10 points Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The game was a close affair for the first half, with Cowichan holding an 18-17 first quarter lead and then bumping that up to lead by five, 38-33 at half. The Thunderbirds then turned it on both offensively and defensively in the third quarter, outscoring the Rams 21-6 to hold a 20 point lead at the end of three. They saved their best for last, scoring 25 points in the final quarter to put the game away and close out the 30 point victory.

1DX 3800
Chaos under the hoop as Oak Bay and Alberni players battle for a rebound (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Josh Charles was the scoring hero for Cowichan, dumping in 27 points, follwoed by Noah Charles with 19 and Humza Khan with 11. Mount Doug’s Clayton Archibald led all scorers with 29 points in the losing effort.

In the third game on Thursday, the #4 South seed Claremont Spartans, put a scare into the #1 seed G.P. Vanier Towhees, leading most of the way and up by four with just over four minutes to play, before the Towhees hit some clutch shots and free throws late in the game to escape with a 64-61 win.

1DX 3922
Claremont’s Zach Mann’s drives past Vanier’s Brandon Balon in Game 3 action Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

This was by far the most entertaining game of the day, as both teams traded baskets all game and the score was never more than five points apart. The Spartans came out with some jump and led early 14-6 before the Towhees regrouped to pull within three, 19-16 at the end of the quarter.

1DX 3928
Claremont’s Zach Manns (10) would score 12 points in a losing effort against Vanier (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The even play continued in the second, with Vanier outscoring Claremont 19-16 to pull the teams even at the half 35-35. Claremont would outscore the Towhees 18-15 in the third to extend their lead to 53-50, and but then Vanier would begin to build some momentum in the fourth, finally taking the lead 62-61 with just over 55 seconds to play.

1DX 3877
Claremont’s Hakeem Jefferson goes up for an easy two in the first half Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Spartans would use fouls to their advantage to stop the clock and after Vanier’s Brandon Balon missed a couple of free throws, the Spartans had a prime opportunity to work a simple shot for the lead, but instead inexplicably opted for a three-point try that banked off the front of the rim.

1DX 4109
Vanier’s Darren Smith (13) has some tough going against Claremont’s Trevor Owens (42) and Jarret Aikman (55)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

They then fouled again, with Vanier making both shots to bump the lead to 64-61 with 15 seconds left and this time, with the Spartans needing to make a three to tie, they chose to work the ball inside for a layup and missed, with the Towhees securing the rebound and running out the clock to secure the win.

High scorers for Vanier included Andres Storgaard with 24, while Tyler Knopp and Chase Hobenshield both added 17. The Spartans were led by Anton Ngongo with 13 and Zach Manns with 12.

1DX 3988
Vanier’s Anders Storgaard (8) would lead all scorers with 24 points against Claremont (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Vanier will now move on to face the Dover Bay Dolphins at 8:00 pm on Friday. The Dolphins defeated the Belmont Bulldogs 64-35 in the final game of the day. The Dolphins, the #3 seed in the North, had little problem with the #2 South seed Bulldogs, jumping out to a 7-0 lead and then hanging on to lead 14-12 after the first quarter.

1DX 4025
Vanier’s Tyler Knopp hits a key basket down the stretch against Claremont (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Dolphins would outscore the Bulldogs 29-13 over the next two quarters to hold a 26-16 lead at the half and a 43-25 lead after three quarters and then close it out by outscoring the Bulldogs 21-10 in the fourth to close out the win.

1DX 4124
This late shot by Vanier’s Chase Hobenshield (21) would put the Towhees ahead to stay in their game against Claremont (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Dolphins were led by Christian Wigmore who led all scorers with 22 points. Jackson Leeder chipped in eight points to lead Belmont.

On the consolation side of the brackets on Friday, the Mount Doug Rams will face the Alberni Armada at 2:00 pm while Claremont will face Belmont at 4:00 pm. All games are being held at Mount Doug High School in Saanich.