The Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball team concluded its season in exciting fashion at the 4A Island Championships, Feb. 20-22 at Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS).
Vanier suffered a two-point loss in their opener against Belmont, the number three team from Victoria. The Towhees gave it their all and kept the game close, but had trouble defending the three-point shot by numerous Belmont players. Peter Greaves led Vanier with 29 points and seven rebounds. Cam Bell added 19 points, eight rebounds and went six for six in free-throw shooting. Jakob Tortorelli had eight assists, nine points and four steals. Final score: 78-76 Belmont.
The second game was a do-or-die match against Cowichan, the number four team from the North Island. Vanier had won both previous meetings during the season. This game was no different as the Towhees had too much firepower, and the second half defence stepped up.
Vanier won 84-68.
Tortorelli scored 22 points, seven rebounds and went to the foul line 17 times, scoring 12. Five steals also helped. Grade 11 Logan Bell chipped in 17 points and 13 rebounds, Cam Bell had 13 points, five assists and five steals, and Greaves had 14 points and nine rebounds.
“A good scoring spread for the Towhees,” coach Larry Street said.
The Towhees faced the host school in their third game.
“NDSS had a tough one against eventual Island champ Oak Bay in a semi final on Friday night, so they were supposedly ripe for the pickings Saturday morning,” Street said. “Well, the story turned out much differently. (But) What a game!”
He said both coaches didn’t want to disrupt their starting lineups because everyone was scoring, and in a very tough manner. Vanier was behind most of the game, but kept chipping away and came within two points in the fourth quarter. But the NDSS scoring trio of Trent Johnson (41), Kwammi Robinson (25) and Brennan Moidy (25) hit some “unbelievable, hand-in-your-face threes” that made it difficult for Vanier to get the lead.
“Trent was just out of this world with his top-notch shooting, and NDSS prevailed 101 to 94,” Street said. “A very exciting game to watch, but the end of the season for Vanier.” Tortorelli scored 25, Greaves 16, Macyn Leopkey-Johnson 15, Cam Bell 11 and Brayden Waugh 11. Greaves led with eight rebounds, and Tortorelli and Cam Bell each had six assists.
Leopkey-Johnson, Tortorelli and Greaves have been asked to play in the Island All Star Seniors game, April 4 at Spectrum in Victoria.
“The nucleus of one of the top teams at Vanier Secondary has finished their storied high school basketball trip through grades 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 — all of whom won four Island Championships, and many tournaments and league games,” Street said. “The primary group of boys came from Lake Trail, and were joined by players from Vanier, Cumberland and overseas. Now some may go on to play at a university, or a college, or senior men’s. There might be a future coach or two, or a much needed referee. Nonetheless, here’s hoping the lads continue to promote basketball in our community, and those beyond.”