The 48th edition of the Towhee Tournament was another great success, with 20 interesting games and lots of great action for local fans.
Killarney edged Wellington 77-74 to win the 12-team senior boys basketball tourney, which ran Jan. 14-16. The host and defending champion G.P. Vanier Towhees played North Island League rival Dover Bay for third place but lost 53-39 and settled for fifth.
“G.P. Vanier had a successful weekend because the young team keeps improving with every game and practice,” said coach Larry Street.
Thursday they played Gladstone from Vancouver, a scrappy, smaller team who just couldn’t deal with big forwards Tyler Knopp (22 points, 11 rebounds and Player of the Game) and Chase Hobenshield (11 points and 12 rebounds). Final score 78-53 Vanier.
Friday night the Towhees encountered Westview from Maple Ridge. This time Player of the Game Hobenshield led with 23 points and nine rebounds while Knopp had 21 points and 14 rebounds. Coen Leopkey-Johnson chipped in six points in the 56-52 win. The game went down to the wire and the local boys showed good composure to get the win.
Saturday morning Vanier played top 15 ranked Killarney of Vancouver in the semifinals. “Killarney won the Junior Provincials last year and seeing the skill level and quickness of the team you can see why,” said Street.
Still, Vanier kept the game close at the end of the third quarter with a one-point deficit, 49-48. Then quite quickly, Killarney scored the next 11 points and never looked back en route to a 74-58 win. “A good game for us against a top opponent and a notch in the experience pocket,” said Street.
Knopp had 14 points, Hobenshield 11, Tim Wilson hustled to eight while ever-improving Zach Boutin chipped in seven points.
The third-place game Saturday evening between Vanier and Dover Bay was a typical match between rivals who both played tough defence.
Hobenshield was a tough guy scoring 18 points from various spots on the floor, and adding 14 rebounds. Knopp hustled for 11 points and 10 boards, with three assists and three steals.
“A big thank you to all the supporters at games throughout the weekend, to all the sponsors who year after year are so good to our program, to the referees who have to listen to banter all the time but are giving it their all, and to the Vanier parents who help with the tournament concession and gate,” Street said.
FREE THROWS Three of the provincial tiers were represented by Dover Bay, Killarney, and Vanier (4A); Timberline, Mt. Doug, Gladstone, Westview, Howe Sound, Ballenas, and Wellington (3A); and King George (2A) … “It’s always good for our local boys to be playing teams from the South Island as well as Lower Mainland squads,” said coach Street. “They bring different styles, and of course some outstanding talent into our Valley.”