The G.P Vanier Towhees are in Victoria this week vying for the AAA senior boys basketball championship.
The Towhees play provincially ranked #7 Oak Bay on Thursday at 8 p.m. Win or lose, they play Friday at either 4:45 p.m. (if lost) or 6:30 p.m. (if won) against either Cowichan or Mount Douglas who play the 6:30 p.m. game Thursday. The other four teams are Dover Bay vs. Belmont (4:45 p.m.) and Claremont vs. the challenge game winner at 3 p.m. (either Alberni or Spectrum who play at Ladysmith on Feb. 26).
The Towhees made it to the Islands with a good showing at the North Islands last week in Duncan. The seeding tourney for the Islands was a feisty affair, with all four teams raising the bar on intensity, court intelligence and teamwork.
Vanier opened against Dover Bay of Nanaimo. During the regular season the two teams split, both winning at home convincingly. This was not only a playoff game, but the rubber match.
Dover Bay came much more playoff ready and well prepared and crunched the Courtenay cagers 84-62. "Their outstanding teamwork and tenacious defence caught us off guard – all of whom didn't really know what playoff basketball was like," said Vanier head coach Larry Street.
Joaquin Paterna (10 points) and Jordan Balon (100 per cent shooting) were the only highlights for Vanier, both shooting well and defending well. Scott Stevens chipped in 13 points and five rebounds. "Our bench played spirited ball in the last quarter, and had great performances from Balon, Colton Derycke, Gryphon Vester, Harry Li and Lucas Falconer," Street said.
In the other Friday game Cowichan defeated Port Alberni in a barnburner 111-72.
Saturday's games were important for seeding purposes. The final was between Dover Bay and Cowichan, with Cowichan prevailing by 12 points. The earlier game between Vanier and Port Alberni was a bit more meaningful because the loser would have to play a challenge match on Tuesday, Feb. 26 for the right to go to the Islands and face #1 Claremont of Victoria.
So finishing was important to the Towhees, and finish they did. Every player contributed to a 70-53 win. After a hectic first quarter and a 16-15 lead by the Towhees, the boys shut down Alberni's big guns and the Armada scored only seven points in the second quarter.
The second half was much the same, and Vanier came away with a much needed win. "For as poorly we played on Friday night, we roared back to play one of our best games of the season," Street said. Jaron Piercy led the way with 19 points and three steals. Joss Biggins added 13 points and six rebounds while Paterna scored 11 points, had five steals and nine assists while being a pest on defence.
– Vanier Towhees Basketball