Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
December 28, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – If a local team is going to emerge victorious at the 2016 UVic Vikes Alumni Invitational High School Basketball Tournament, it will be up to the Oak Bay Bays, as they were the only local squad left standing after opening day action Wednesday at the eight team tournament being held at the CARSA Performance Gym on the UVic campus in Victoria.
The Bays cruised to a relatively easy 60-43 win over the Vashon Island, Washington Pirates in Wednesday’s 6:30 pm game and will now face Edmonton’s Harry Ainlay Titans in Thursday’s 8:15 pm semi-final. The Titans advanced to the semis by defeating the SMUS Blue Jags 91-81 in the final game of the day Wednesday.
In the other semi-final Thursday at 6:30 pm, the #1 ranked 4A team in the Province, Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators, will face Seattle, Washington’s Ballard Beavers. The Gators got a scare from Kitsap, Washington’s Kingston Buccaneers, before prevailing 92-82 in the first game of the day Wednesday, while the Beavers dismantled Victoria’s Lambrick Park Lions 79-58 in game two on the day.
Walnut Grove 92 Kingston 82
In the first game of the day, the top-ranked Gators got all they could handle from a quick-moving Kingston squad who jumped into an early lead and who would hold a 23-18 lead at the end of one and a 6-point, 38-32 lead at the half.
Walnut Grove would re-group big time in the third quarter and after trailing 51-43 with 5:23 left in the frame, they scored 15 unanswered points and went on a 18-5 run to close out the third with a 61-56 lead.
The Gators big man, Jake Cowley, then began to dominate, scoring eight of his 25 points total in that fourth period to help hold the Buc’s at bay and preserve the 92-82 win.
In addition to Cowley, four other Gators hit double digits including Ty Rowell with 21, Azino Tyrell Urefe and James Woods with 13 each and Andrew Goertzen with 10.
For the Buccaneers, Andrew Shaw led the way with 17 points, while Gabe Gregory and Liam Young added 14 and 12 points respectively in the losing effort.
Ballard 79 Lambrick Park 58
Things started well for the Island’s #3 ranked 2A Lions, as twin brothers Calvin and Austin Somers combined for a trio of three-point shots to give Lambrick an early 9-4 lead. The Lions generate the bulk of their offence from the outside shooting of the Somers brothers and when that shooting then went cold and was combined with a number of costly Lambrick Park turnovers, the Beavers were able to dominate the quarter and emerge with a 21-16 lead at the first break.
Also problematic for the Lions was the play of Ballard’s big man, Valentin Boyanov, who used his 6’5″ frame to full advantage, scoring eight first-quarter points and adding another seven in the second frame to extend the Ballard lead to 42-31 at the half.
The Beavers who if anything, were remarkably consistent, scored another 21 points in the third frame, to just 11 for the Lions, to hold a 63-42 lead at the break and then coasted from there, playing even-up with the Lions over the last frame to close out the 79-58 win.
The unstoppable Boyanov finished with 29 points on the night, while Simon Czyzewski, with 17 and Fresh Ausar, with 12, also hit double digits for Ballard.
For Lambrick Park, Calvin Somers finished with 12 points, all on three-pointers, to lead the Lions, while, Evin Gill and Luke DeGreef added 11 and 10 points respectively in the losing effort.
Oak Bay 60 Vashon Island 43
The Bays, the Island’s #1 ranked 4A team (7th in the Province) started this one in fine fashion, jumping out to a 12-2 lead and thanks to a trio of three-pointers from star guard Jaden Touchie, held a 15-6 lead at the end of one quarter.
The Pirates would find their game a bit better in the second quarter, scoring 11 points to the Bays 13, to trail 28-17 at the half, but a 16-9 third quarter for the Bays put the game out of reach for the visitors from Washington.
They would get a bit of redemption by outscoring the Bays 17-16 in the final frame, but it would be too little, too late as the Bays cruised comfortably to the 17-point win.
Oak Bay was led by forward Isaiah Romanow, who would finish with 16 points on the night. Touchie would finish with 14, while Caelan Scott chipped in 10 to the winning effort.
For Vashon Island, Casper Forrest would lead the way with 18 points, while Tommy Delargy added eight in the losing effort.
Harry Ainlay 91 SMUS 81
In an entertaining and closely played affair to close out the evening, the Harry Ainlay Titans pulled out the victory despite the performance of the day by SUMS forward Ryan Hindson, who after sitting silent for the first quarter of the game, went on to score 46 points, and almost single-handedly willed the Blue Jags to the win.
The Jags, who would trail 19-12 after the first quarter, turned things on in the second and thanks to Hindson’s first 15 points of the night, took a 36-34 lead before ending the half down 38-36.
An evenly played third quarter would see the Titans up their lead to 60-56 and they would extend it from there, outscoring the Jags 31-25 in the final frame to close out the 91-81 win.
Harry Ainlay’s Ariel Mutrware led the Titans to the win with a 28-point night, while four other players, including Brandon Micklejohn (16 points), Lars Ishimwe (13 points), Sabry Phillip (11 points) and Miles Washington (10 points), also found their way into double digits.
For SMUS, Hindson’s 46-point performance was truly amazing, given he did not start the game and scored no points in the first quarter. He scored 15 in each of the second and third quarters and added another 16 in the fourth. Nineteen of his points alone came from the free-throw line where he finished 19-25 on the night. Two other Blue Jags quietly hit double figures for the evening including Ben Keep, with 13 points and Jamison Schulz-Franco with 10.
Play at the UVic Invitational continues Thursday with consolation match-ups at 3:00 pm (Kingston vs Lambrick Park) and 4:45 pm (Vashon Island vs SMUS), with the semi-finals taking place at 6:30 pm (Walnut Grove vs Ballard) and 8:15 pm (Oak Bay vs Harry Ainlay). On Friday, consolation games go at 9:00 am and 10:45 am, the third place game will happen at 12:30 pm and the championship final will take place at 2:15 pm.
All games are taking place at the CARSA Gym at UVic.
More photos from these games will be available on Christian J. Stewart’s web site at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/basketball. Follow Christian on Twitter at @cjs_photography and ISN at @islandsports1.