The North Island AAAA senior boys basketball tournament was a jump start to this week’s Island Championships at Port Alberni, and the four games were an excellent indication that Thursday’s start to the Islands will be interesting indeed.
On Friday night, Cowichan Thunderbirds defeated Alberni Armada 78-44. In the other match up, #2 Dover Bay Dolphins played #3 Vanier and the Towhees came out playing their best half of basketball for the year. “Everyone who played contributed in a meaningful way, and the we ended the first half with a 46-27 lead,” said Vanier coach Larry Street.
The second half was a bit different as Chris Wigmore lit up the court with a string of threes, ending the game with 33 points. But the Nanaimo squad couldn’t get within 10 points of Vanier, and the Towhees came away with a solid 83-73 win.
“What a great team effort it was, where five players were in double figures in points, while two others were one basket away from joining them,” Street said.
Joss Biggins led the scoring with 18 points, Jakob Jungwirth had 17, Bryce Olsen 12 and Colton Derycke had 11. Harry Li added eight points and eight rebounds while Foster Dewitt added nine points and three assists.
Saturday night started with a 68-60 win for Dover Bay over Alberni. Dover will enter the Islands as #3 playing Mount Doug from Victoria. Alberni ends up 4th, and will play the #1 seed Claremont of Victoria.
The second game was the third this year between Cowichan of Duncan and Vanier. Cowichan got off to a solid first half lead, up 37-24 at the break. Josh Charles had 15 points at half time, and the Towhees had to figure out a way to shut down the T-Birds superstar.
The third quarter stayed somewhat the same, and in the fourth the Towhees came alive, coming within six points at the two-minute mark.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t score when it counted down the stretch and lost 71-63,” Street said. “Again, good all round team scoring for Vanier, but by only shooting 35 per cent not too many games will be won with that.
Dewitt led the way with 13 points and five rebounds. Derycke added 10 points and five assists. Jordan Balon came off the bench and potted 10 points, netting 5-of-6 free throws along the way. Biggins scored 11 points and led the way with 10 rebounds, while Leapin Harry Li had nine points and three steals.
First-round match-ups for the Islands on Thursday feature Cowichan vs. Belmont, Vanier vs. Oak Bay, Dover Bay vs. Mount Doug, and Claremont vs. Alberni.
– Vanier Towhees