The G.P. Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball team placed fifth at the 4A Island championships last week in Duncan.
The Towhees lost their Feb. 23 opener 79-56 to Belmont of Langford, the number four team from the South Island.
“We anticipated a very athletic team who shot many threes, and drove the basket hard,” Vanier coach Larry Street said, noting their main player was Michael Aun, an athletic, talented grade 11. They started off immediately with a press, and the Towhees were caught off guard.” Nevertheless, Vanier was up 18-17 at the quarter. The half time score was 32-29 for Belmont. Vanier had trouble in the third quarter making easy baskets, and Belmont pulled away. Jace McDowell of Vanier led with 20 points and was his team’s player-of-the-game. Kaizan Hajdrych scored 16.
Vanier rebounded Feb. 24 with a 69-46 win over Cowichan in a do-or-die game.
Vanier started strong, and pulled away early due to superior defence and rebounding, but Cowichan kept pushing and led 31-27 at the half. “The Vanier boys didn’t want to end their season, so they got focused, and starting hitting big shots,” Street said.
Walter Bulman-Fleming hit four big three pointers, and finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Vanier player-of-the-game Hajdrych added 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists and six steals.
Vanier then lost 65-53 to Spectrum Feb. 25. The Victoria team featured 6’5” Justin Heinrichson and 6’7” Tyler Felt. Street said his team started poorly against a press and a tough defence, and was down early by 22 points. So his team had to “scrape, scrap, and try to outwork Spectrum to get back into the game.”
Vanier was down 10 by the half.
The second half was back and forth, and Vanier came within five points. McDowell was again Vanier’s player-of-the-game with 12 points and seven rebounds. Hajdrych added 10 points, four assists and five rebounds.
The Towhees finished their season with a record of 20 wins and 16 losses.
“Many great wins, and numerous close losses,” Street said. “The MO for this squad was how hard they worked, how much fun they were to watch as they played together so well, how classy they were, and how well they represented the Comox Valley while traveling to the Mainland and Victoria.”
The Towhees were awarded the trophy Most Sportsmanlike Team at the Island Championships.