A new high school basketball season has started, and this year’s edition of the G.P. Vanier Towhees senior boys should be a fun one to watch, says coach Larry Street.
“Defence will be the primary focus of this year’s team, to create numerous fast-break baskets and some exciting basketball for the fans. This hard-working group has plenty of potential to challenge for the Islands this year and has a starting five who can all score, all run, all are quick on defence, and all have high aspirations to win lots of tournaments this year,” Street said.
The two primary leaders will be seniors Dillon Robson and Mark McGinnis. “Both want to go to the next level after high school and have worked hard on their game, in the weight room, and as leaders with their teammates,” Street notes.
“Dillon is a 6’5″ point forward who can score numerous ways and Mark is a sharpshooter who loves checking the other team’s top guards.” Joining them is senior Cam Hughes, who runs the floor hard, rebounds with tenacity, and plays a smart game. Rounding out the starters will be Grade 11s Madison McRae and Scott Stevens.
“Madison may be one of the fastest guards on the Island, and is a tough check. Scott plays a power game but also has a sweet touch on his shot, and will be the sleeper on the floor that opponents must not take for granted. He also may be our toughest defender,” Street said.
“Coming off the bench will be sometimes starter Jaron Piercy who has loads of potential as a 6’3” forward who can shoot, and plays a heady game.
“Our six players who push the top six practice in and practice out are just a step away from being big factors with the team. All they need is much needed experience, and some work on their skills,” Street said. “Seniors Dan Tran and Zach Hunter bring lots of enthusiasm and hustle to our team and will be key subs in the big games. Dan is a back-up guard who has improved tremendously and Zach is a forward who loves to take it to the hoop and runs the floor hard.
“Grade 11s Kris Ding, Lucas Falconer and Son Pham are also guards who will share the play-making role. Kris is a great passer, Lucas has a calm demeanor and is very tough defensively and Son’s shot is looking very good. Gryphon Vester is a key Grade 11 post player who shows tremendous hustle and is eager to learn and be a force off the bench for this team,” Street stated.
This past weekend the Towhees, ranked seventh on the Island, played three exhibition games in Victoria. On Friday night they played fourth ranked on the Island Claremont and started the season off with a convincing win.
Starting the game with a strong press, and good all round scoring, Vanier opened a 25-7 lead. At half time they led 28-16 and went on to win 64-54, with everyone seeing floor time.
Player of the Game Robson scored 23 points despite spraining his ankle and also had eight rebounds. McGinnis followed with 14 points and five assists.
McRae rounded out double digit scoring with 12 points and some much needed flash. Hughes had six points and Piercy added four.
The second game on Saturday at Spectrum was against Yarra Grammar School, a touring team from Melbourne, Australia. “They were a very well-coached squad with a 6’8″ centre, a 6’6″ scoring forward and eight other very athletic players,” Street said.
“We couldn’t play Dillon Robson due to his very sore ankle, so the Grade 11s had to come through. The biggest problem was finishing. We came within eight points in the fourth quarter, but we had to save the lads for another game an hour and a half later and played everyone. The score at the end was 59-39 Yarra. The defence was actually very good, but not the finish around the basket.”
McGinnis rallied with 19 points (hitting five threes) while Player of the Game Stevens had eight points and five rebounds.The top rebounder was Hughes with seven.
The third game against host Spectrum was a very low-scoring affair, with Spectrum prevailing 48-42. The Towhees made it very hard for Spectrum to score, but couldn’t muster finishing again and shot a very poor percentage from the floor. “Too many wide-open misses and costly turnovers,” Street said.
McGinnis again led the way with 15 points and Stevens scored 14 while getting five rebounds. Player of the Game McRae scored 11 points and had five rebounds while Hughes mustered nine rebounds and dished out four assists.
Next up for the Towhees is their first tournament of the year in Chilliwack.
– Vanier Towhees basketball