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Courtenay school third at Mt. Doug basketball tournament

Vanier’s senior boys basketball team won the bronze medal game at the Mt. Doug Tournament last weekend in Victoria.
File photo of Isfeld and Vanier senior boys basketball game last season. The two teams met up Tuesday at Vanier.

Vanier’s senior boys basketball team won the bronze medal game at the Mt. Doug Tournament last weekend in Victoria.

The Towhees kicked it off Thursday, Dec. 8 against the 2A Lambrick Park, a top-10 ranked team in B.C. with tall players, including a 6’9 Grade 10 who came off the bench.

“They play a very tall 2-3 zone, and have a talented Grade 11 guard who hit many threes against us,” Vanier coach Larry Street said. “We have nobody over 6’2, and all starters are no bigger than six feet. So we have to be warriors.”

Vanier kept the game close into the fourth quarter within one point, but ran out of gas halfway through. Lambrick won 61-45.

Imraan Abdul led the Towhees with 13 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Micah Leopkey-Johnson scored 14 points and Jace McDowell had eight points.

On Friday, Vanier beat Ballenas 75-58. Street said the young, inexperienced Parksville team played hard but could not keep up with Vanier’s quickness. Abdul again led the charge with 21 points and 12 rebounds. McDowell finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, Leopkey-Johnson scored 11 points, and Kai Canning had 11 points and eight rebounds.

On Saturday, the Towhees played Nanaimo District Secondary School for third place.

“Excellent game, and a good match up, they only had one big player,” Street said. “We played stellar defence, and created 26 turnovers.”

A fourth-quarter comeback and steady, disciplined play down the stretch led to a 55-52 Vanier win. Abdul had 19 points, 17 rebounds and seven steals. He was named defensive player of the tournament. Shimon Hashikawa added 16 points and seven steals. Cannning chipped in 11 points.

•The 4A Vanier hosted the 3A Mark Isfeld in a barnburner of a league game in front of a packed house Tuesday, Dec. 13.

“A fantastic high school atmosphere with cheering students for both sides, a pep band adding to the scene, and a good rivalry game,” Street said.

Isfeld main post Harlow Nield had his way inside with 16 points, Liam Robertson scored 23 points and Finley Lan added 20 points.

Street said Vanier made a great comeback in the third and fourth quarters. The Towhees had been down by 17 but came back within five points thanks to a valiant effort by Abdul with 23 points, nine rebounds and eight steals. The depleted Towhees had sickness and injury issues that hurt with team depth, but the boys who played gave it a grand shot.

“Fun game, and thanks to the very respectful fans who supported both teams,” Street said.

Isfeld won 72-64.

Vanier’s first league game was a win over 4A Cowichan last week.

•On Thursday, Vanier beat the 2A Highland Secondary 63-59. The Comox team controlled the Towhees in their home gym for three quarters by as much as 17 points, but Vanier picked away at the lead in the fourth quarter and took the lead for good at the two-minute mark. Abdul had 20 points and 17 rebounds capped with five steals. McDowell scored 15 points and had five steals.

• Friday in the Lower Mainland, Vanier beat Burnaby North 58-48 with only seven players available.

“The Towhees again showed their tenacity on defence and out-rebounded the bigger Burnaby team by 20,” Street said.

On Saturday, Vanier won 63-42 over the 4A Gleneagle Talons in Coquitlam.

“Great effort by the whole team on defence,” Street said. “We outrebounded the bigger Talons by 26.”

Abdul finished with 26 points, 16 rebounds and a plus-16 in stats. Shimon Hashimoto added 10 points, four steals and seve rebounds.

A fine week for the Towhees with three wins and one loss. Their record is seven wins and four losses.