The GP Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball squad started the new season in their annual trek to the 4A Chilliwack Tournament on the weekend. There were four ranked teams, and other quick, talented teams that made for a great test for the young Towhees side. Starting all Grade 11s, it took two games for them to gel, and learn how to start playing this game.
Game 1 – vs. Unity Christian of Chilliwack
This team was quick, and well coached, but had problems matching with the Towhees size inside. All Towhees played throughout the tournament, and therefore momentums changed but games were kept close. The first half obviously displayed plenty of nerves for all these first-year high school players, but in the second, Vanier’s athleticism and size took over and wore out the Christians. Final score was 73-45 for Vanier. Scoring was spread out with four players in double figures: Jakob Tortorelli, 17 points, five steals; Peter Greaves, 14 points, 12 rebounds; Justin Watt, 12 points, three steals; and Macyn Leopkey-Johnson, 11 points and six steals.
Game 2 vs Abbotsford Traditional;
This senior-laden squad was not nearly as big as the Towhees, but very quick with the dribble, and excellent shooters. The Towhees turned the ball over too much, a usual early season malady, and had key breakdowns late in the game leaving open threes for Abby. Vanier tied the score in the last minute, but experience cost them with poor decisions in that last minute, and missed free throws. Final score: Abby 61, Vanier 58. Greaves had 17 points and 11 rebounds; Tortorelli scored 11 points and Cam Bell had four assists.
Game 3 for third place vs Highroad Academy, Kamloops ranked top 10 single A.
This was an interesting team for Vanier to play because they exclusively played zone, and tried to press as they did all tournament. The Towhees came out blazing, had easy layups against the press, and cleared the boards. First half score was Vanier 43, Highroad 21. The second half was a breakout for the Towhees as they played their best third quarter of the weekend. Final score Vanier 74, Highroad 35.
First all-star Greaves had 23 points, and did lots of other good things for the team. Leopkey-Johnson, a second all-star, had 12 points, five assists, and controlled the tempo for the team. Tortorelli finished with 17 points, while Jeff Powell had his best game with nine points and nine rebounds.
NEXT UP FOR THE TOWHEES: First home game is Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Vanier vs. Port Alberni. Start time is 7 p.m. Then the Towhees are in the 16-team North Shore tournament, Thursday to Saturday at Carson Graham in North Vancouver.
Vanier is the fourth-ranked team among triple-A Island teams, and is an honourable mention in the provincial rankings.