Towhees in tough at Island basketball championships

JAKOB JUNGWIRTH OF Vanier muscles his way past Oak Bay opponent during Island AAAA senior boys basketball championships in Port Alberni. - PHOTO BY PEGGY STREET
JAKOB JUNGWIRTH OF Vanier muscles his way past Oak Bay opponent during Island AAAA senior boys basketball championships in Port Alberni.
— image credit: PHOTO BY PEGGY STREET

The G.P. Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball team was at the AAAA Island Championships in Port Alberni this past weekend, and came away a disappointed team, due to some bad luck, and meeting a couple of hot teams.

"These high school Islands feature the bigger schools on the Island, and perennially the toughest schools to play year in and year out," said Vanier coach Larry Street.

"Claremont of Victoria is the class of the Island at all levels, and defeated Cowichan of Duncan (a young, big and, talented team) 66-57 in the final.  Both are sure bets to do some damage at the Provincials in Langley in two weeks," Street said.

The Towhees played normally stingy Oak Bay Bays in their first game on Thursday night, and a terrible run of bad luck happened in the first quarter.  Leading scorer Joss Biggins (21 points and eight per game) was lost to a serious knee injury that has sidelined him for a while.

"The lads were deflated somewhat by this, and then starting point guard Colton Derycke had a bad poke in the eye which sidelined him," Street noted. "To make matters worse, key guard sub Jordan Balon badly turned his ankle and we suddenly lost loads of experience."

Meanwhile, Oak Bay continued their very tough man-to-man press the entire game, and it was too much for the Courtenay boys who lost 95-59.   Street managed to play all 15 players in the game (four juniors were brought up), and there were some bright lights. "At one point we had what possibly looks like next year's core group playing very well together led by Grade 11s Byce Olsen (13 points, eight rebounds), Brandon Balon (five assists), Reece Meyeroff, Chase Hobenshield (eight points, three rebounds) and Tyler Knopp (10 points, two steals, three rebounds).

"Senior Jakob Jungwirth had to try to hold his team together and ended with nine points and two assists."

The next day the Towhees played rival Alberni Armada, the tourney hosts. The game was a tight one throughout, but the Vanier boys could not find their scoring touch and without Joss they were behind the eight ball.

Olsen led the way and received a second Player of the Game in two nights with 18 points and nine rebounds. Senior Foster Dewitt scored eight points while grabbing seven rebounds while Jungwirth added eight points and three assists.

"The last quarter featured seniors Jakob, Foster, Colton Derycke,  Brandon Balon along with Bryce who valiantly tried to pull the game within reach, but to no avail," Street said.

"Just too many turnovers, and missed shots, although their defensive pressure equally kept the game close. Final score 61-51 Alberni.

"It was a sad way to end a .500+ season that had so many highlights, and tremendously great times had by all" Street said.

"This group of young men represented the Comox Valley admirably, and with plenty of heart.  Seniors Colton, Joss, Harry, Isaac, Jordon and Jakob will be missed, and we wish them all the best of luck in whatever they choose to do next year.

"Grade 11s Sean McGinnis, Reece Meyeroff, Brandon Balon and Bryce Olsen look forward to joining a promising group of Grade 10s who will again be contenders on the Island next year.  Special thanks to Super Manager Jake Fernandes and assistant manager Mac Kennedy for their long hours devoted to the team.  Coach Olsen provided a passionate voice to the team and we thank her for her many hours devoted to the betterment of the team.

"A very important thank you to our community for unbelievable support of our program; the media, all our devoted sponsors, School District #71, and finally and most importantly, thank you to the staff and students of G.P. Vanier for their fantastic support of their team," Street said.

"The G.P. Vanier team also wishes all the teams at Mark Isfeld who made the upcoming Provincials, and the Highland senior boys team, in their quest to do well at the B.C.s and equally represent our Comox Valley community with class and success in basketball Championships."

FREE THROWS Mount Doug finished third at the Islands, Oak Bay fourth, Dover Bay fifth and Alberni sixth while Vanier and Belmont tied for seventh at the eight-team event … in the AAA boys Islands Mark Isfeld played Wellington in the final and win or lose are going to the B.C.s while in the AA boys Island the Highland Raiders defeated Brentwood College 62-58 to earn third place and punch their ticket to the B.C.s …the Mark Isfeld Ice are attending the B.C. junior girls and B.C. AA girls tournaments ...


– Vanier Towhees



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