The Vanier and Isfeld senior boys basketball teams squared off in the bronze medal game at the Brentwood College Countdown to Playoffs tournament on the weekend. There were several ranked sides among the 16 teams.
“The Towhees found out how well coached and disciplined the Ice were, who picked us apart at every seam, and countless made threes,” Vanier coach Larry Street said. “Stopping Thaskani Mtawali and Aidan McDonald was a chore, and both played excellent games for Isfeld.”
The final score was 76-58 Isfeld. Mtawali and McDonald scored 31 and 23 points respectively. Both were selected to the all-tournament team.
Street said Isfeld players were “terrors on defence,” and his side could not get untracked. Sidney Woodrow scored 14 points and Jakob Tortorelli 12. Cam Bell had 10 points, and received an all-star award.
In their first game, the triple-A Towhees beat Notre Dame of Vancouver 80-67.
“We knew they would be tough in this one,” Street said. “The Vanier squad was just too big for them though, and all 12 players saw floor time. Four were in double figure scoring, and everyone rebounded their share.”
Peter Greaves had 20 points and 10 boards, Bell scored 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, Tortorelli had 15 points and six rebounds, and Macyn Leopkey finished with 15 points and four assists.
Vanier then beat Seycove of North Vancouver, a top-10 AA team.
“We knew that Seycove could shoot, and run with the best,” Street said. “What they didn’t anticipate was our very tough defence, and the shutdown mode mentality.”
Seycove could only muster 41 points while Vanier, again playing everyone, scored 72. Greaves scored 19 points and 12 boards, Bell had 14 points, and Tortorelli had 13 points and some tough defence.
In the semi-finals, Vanier lost 74-62 to Langley Christian, the fourth-ranked AA team in B.C. The Towhees were up for the game, and started strong with excellent team defence.
“We kept an eight to 10 point lead through three-quarters of the game, until LC tied the score at 50-50 at the end of the third period,” Street said. “Foul trouble plagued a couple of key starters, and composure was on LC’s side in that fourth quarter, where we allowed too many threes from them, and we had trouble scoring.”
Greaves ended with 27 points and nine rebounds while Tortorelli had 18 and five.
Before meeting Vanier, Isfeld beat Ed Milne of Sooke 80-38. Jay Escosia led four scorers in double figures with 25, Temwa Mtawali added 22, Thaskani netted 14 and McDonald had 11. The Ice then beat AA honorable mention Lambrick Park of Saanich 81-69. Down nine at the end of the first quarter, the Ice tightened up defensively and outscored the Lions by 21 the rest of the way. Between McDonald and Temwa, Isfeld had 11 threes for the game. Temwa scored 30 and McDonald 22.
In the semis, the Ice lost 84-64 to the quad-A Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS), which defeated Langley Christian 65-61 in the championship final. Isfeld hit a season low of five threes for the game. Thaskani had 28 and Temwa 17.
NDSS had also beaten Isfeld on Jan. 26, handing the Ice its first loss of the season. Isfeld, with a record of 25-2, has climbed to number five in the provincial triple-A rankings. Vanier is an honorable mention.
Last Tuesday, Isfeld won 79-66 over Carihi, also a triple-A honorable mention. The win clinched a sixth straight regular season north title for Isfeld, which closes out league play Tuesday against John Barsby in Nanaimo.
Isfeld hosts the North Island playoffs Feb. 14-16.
Vanier has two league games this week: Tuesday at Carihi and Friday at John Barsby.