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Courtenay’s Vanier opens basketball season with tourney win

The senior boys from team Vanier won the Mount Douglas basketball tournament on the weekend in Victoria.
Sam Barnie of Vanier earned MVP honours at the Mount Douglas basketball tournament. Scott Stanfield photo

The senior boys from team Vanier won the Mount Douglas basketball tournament on the weekend in Victoria.

After sitting patiently for 624 days after their last game in 2019, the Towhees were excited to finally hit the court against somebody other than their own teammates. They kicked things off Thursday against Wellington of Nanaimo.

Coach Larry Street said it was a typical first game for anybody: sloppy, out of sync, nerves and wonderment.

“Wellington is always very well coached and disciplined, and the Towhees had a slow first half,” he said. “Finally the senior starting five got rolling, and all were more aggressive to the basket.”

Four players ended with 15 points: Tristan Carriere-Bela, Sam Barnie, Aidan Walsh and Carson Bell. Barnie had 10 rebounds and Walsh 11. Vanier won 69-61 in overtime.

Next up was Nanaimo’s John Barsby on Friday. Street said the defence was a mainstay and kept the score low in the opening quarter, while the starters fully controlled most of the second and third quarters.

“Barsby got hot in the early fourth, and we had to get our best five out there to keep the lead,” he said.

Vanier won 64-54. Barnie scored 22 points, while Reed Fournier chipped in nine. Walsh had seven points and six rebounds.

Saturday’s championship final was against league rival Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS). Always well coached, Street said it was a close game for the full first half, with Vanier up 30-24. The third quarter score was 51-49 Vanier.

“So, the fourth quarter would be determined by discipline on offence, and tough defence,” Street said. “Vanier was better at both, and Tristan Carriere-Bela took over the game. He ended with 20 points and seven assists, with four steals.”

Barnie also had 20, with seven rebounds and five steals. Walsh added 18 points and 10 tough rebounds. Off the bench, Carl Schmitz-Valckenberg was strong on the boards with nine, and played solid defence.

Walsh was a first all-star while Barnie was named tournament MVP.

This week, Vanier hosts Timberline, Wednesday at 7 p.m. The juniors play at 5:30 p.m. On Thursday at 7 p.m., the senior Towhees face the Ice at Mark Isfeld Secondary.