Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
UPDATED: February 23, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – With big guns Lyndon Hamilton and Chris Niketas running cold, Vic High’s Jairus Miclat stepped up for 17 points to lead the Totems past the Ballenas Whalers 57-44 in opening game action of the Vancouver Island AAA Boys Basketball Championships Thursday afternoon at a jam packed Victoria High School gymnasium.
The Whalers, who emerged as the fourth seed out of the North Island finals, gave the nervous Totems all they could handle early on, capitalising on a number of Totem misses to hold a 12-10 lead after the first quarter.
They also found a way to keep Totem big guns Hamilton and Niketas off the score sheet for the entire first half, but thanks to some clutch baskets from Miclat and teammate Danzil Binag, the Totems were able to close out the half with a slim 23-19 lead.
The Totems were able to extend their lead to 32-23 early in the third, but the Whalers, thanks to a 12 point quarter from Liviano Canil, would go on a 13-5 run to end the frame and close within one at 37-36, then briefly take a 38-37 lead at the start of the fourth.
That would be as good as it would get for the Whalers, as the Totems then went on a 10-0 run to go up 47-38 and then score another 10 the rest of the way to close out the 57-44 win.
The Whalers Canil would finish with 21 points to lead all scorers, fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. Miclat’s 17 points would lead the Totems, while Binag would be the only other player in double figures with 10. Hamilton and Niketas would eventually get on the scoreboard, finishing with seven and six points respectively.
The Totems now advance to the semi-finals Friday (5:30 pm) where they will face the Wellington Wildcats, 79-62 winners of Thursday’s second game over the Mount Douglas Rams.
In other games Thursday, Nanaimo defeated Mark Isfeld 60-51 while Carihi defeated Reynolds 53-50.
On Friday the consolation games go at 2:00 pm (Ballenas vs Mt. Doug) and 4:45 pm (Mark Isfeld vs Reynolds), while the semi-finals go at 5:30 pm (Vic vs Wellington) and 7:15 pm (Nanaimo vs Carihi).
Saturday consolation games go at 10:00 am and 11:45 am, while the third place game goes at 6:00 pm and the Championship final at 7:45 pm.
In the Island 4A Championships at Belmont on Thursday, Cowichan defeated Claremont 72-60, while Belmont thumped GP Vanier 102-56. Cowichan will now play Oak Bay Friday at 6:00 pm, while Belmont faces Dover Bay at 8:00 pm in the semi-finals.