In their first league game of the season, the Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball team beat Nanaimo District (NDSS) 73—68, Dec. 17 in Nanaimo.
The home team featured a couple of talented, college level players in Kwammi Robinson and Trent Johnson.
“We knew we had to shut those down, and it was certainly a chore,” Vanier coach Larry Street said.
The Towhees started strong and held the lead the entire game. Up by 10 with three minutes remaining, Johnson hit a couple of long threes to keep it close.
Jakob Tortorelli led Vanier with 23 points and three steals. Peter Greaves had 19 points and 18 rebounds while Brayden Waugh added 14 big rebounds. Cam Bell chipped in 11 points and was his normal pesky self on defence, while Macyn Johnson also had a strong game with 15 points and four steals.
The following night, Vanier was competing at the Burnaby South Tournament. The boys faced North Delta, last year’s provincial champion, in the opener.
“The Towhees played a much shorter team, and knew they had to stop the three-point shot,”; Street said. “Unfortunately, the lads were a bit tired from the previous night, and were somewhat slow in the first half.”
Still, Vanier only trailed by two at the half.
In the second half, North Delta had their best shooting game of the season, hitting 10 of 19 threes. Vanier was down by 10 with three minutes remaining. Then Tortorelli hit a three, slashed for a couple more and went to the foul line, bringing the team to within a point.
“Luck with referee’s calls didn’t help us the last minute, and we lost 72-70,” Street said. “The Towhees learned a lot about themselves with this loss.”
Greaves had 30 points and 18 rebounds, while Tortorelli had 23 points and six assists. Few other Towhees scored, though Cam Bell registered a season high nine assists.
Vanier followed with a 74-41 win over Burnaby Mountain. Greaves did not play due to injury, but his teammates picked up the slack in double figures. Tortorelli scored 18 points, Logan Bell had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Cam Bell scored 11 points and four assists, and Waugh finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Vanier ended the tournament on a high note with a win over Frank Hurt of Surrey. Street said the boys were disappointed not to play top 10 Heritage Woods or Burnaby South, the third-ranked team in B.C. So the boys took it out on the sharp-shooting team from Surrey.
“We knew they would be very similar to North Delta,” Street said. “Defence is our primary theme, and we certainly made the stops to bother the Hurt team.”
Greaves played the first eight minutes but had to leave due to injury. At the time, he had 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Tortorelli also bruised his knee a second night in a row, so he sat most of the second half. Cam Bell took over, along with Waugh (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Jeff Powell (eight points). Grade 11 player Hunter Harris had nine rebounds and four points, and fellow Grade 11 Logan Bell scored six points and eight rebounds.
This weekend, the Towhees compete at the UVIC Alumni Tournament Dec. 28-30. It features 12 top teams from across Canada.