Towhees runner up at Belmont Tournament

Vanier beat 4A squad en route to final

The senior boys basketball team from Vanier Secondary placed second at the Belmont Tournament, which wrapped up Saturday in Victoria.

The 3A Towhees defeated John Barsby Secondary 69-62 in their opening game. The Nanaimo squad, depleted due to injuries and sickness, only had six players. Still, it was a reasonably good game. Vanier started strong, ending the first quarter with a 25-12 lead. The half-time score was 32-23 for Vanier. The second stayed close right to the end.

Vanier forward Peter Greaves ended with 29 points and 17 rebounds, while Macyn Leopkey had 10 points and seven assists. Jeff Powell added eight points and seven rebounds.

“Vanier managed to play everyone, and the score kept close to make play meaningful,” Vanier coach Larry Street said.

The Towhees play Barsby in a league game Tuesday, Jan. 8 in Nanaimo. Street is sure it will be an even better match once they get their players back.

The Towhees faced tourney host Belmont in the second game. Street said the 4A Island power was a great match for Vanier because they are guard-heavy, very athletic and shoot lots of threes. Vanier was up to the task using their size to advantage, and finding numerous ways to score, which kept the Towhees with good floor balance. This was a tight match the entire time, and Vanier finally opened a six-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Scoring was spread with Jakob Tortorelli putting in 16 points, Cam Bell 10 points and eight rebounds, Leopkey 14 points and Greaves 17 (with 15 rebounds). This was an important win for this young team, since it proved that hard work and smart play can go together. Final score: Vanier 71, Belmont 68.

Vanier then played Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDS) in the final – a rematch with an athletic and talented team. Street said both starting guards (Owen and Quammi) are great scorers, and were a bit much for the Towhees. The NDSS shooting was excellent, and too many drives were allowed. The final score was 88-70 NDSS. Greaves, named a tourney all-star, scored 38 points for Vanier.

Tourney reaches half century

In its 50th year, the annual Towhee Tournament for high school boys will not disappoint for skill, action, close games, and the best entertainment for the admission cost in the Comox Valley.

The Jan. 10-12 tourney features six senior boys teams from the Lower Mainland, two from Victoria, two from Nanaimo and two local sides.

Ranked teams Pitt Meadows (top 10, 3A) and Clayton Heights (honorable mention, 3A) are formidable opponents for anyone, yet Island 4A power NDSS from Nanaimo might be the team to beat. Add in 4A Mt. Doug, top 10 Single A Glenlyon Norfolk, and a couple of solid Grade 11 teams — North Surrey and Guildford Park of Surrey — and fans will enjoy plenty of good games.

Vancouver’s Eric Hamber and Chilliwack are both 4A schools with a long history of basketball greatness.

On opening day, starting at 3 p.m., all first-round matchups will be interesting, capped off by a local rivalry game between Vanier and crosstown opponent Highland — the feature game at 8 p.m.

Games go all day Friday and Saturday at Vanier. The semi-finals are Saturday at 10 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. The championship final is at 8 p.m.

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