The Vanier Towhees won two of three games to earn the consolation title at the W.J. Mouat senior boys basketball tournament, Dec. 15-17 in Abbotsford.
The event featured eight very good teams, all competitive, with two top-15 teams meeting in the championship final, where the host Hawks defeated their cross-town rivals Yale Lions 81-60.
The Towhees dropped their first game to David Thompson Lakers of Vancouver 62-54. “They were a very feisty, aggressive small team that we couldn’t seem to slow down,” said Vanier coach Larry Street.
“Their guards were much quicker and more experienced than ours and we had trouble containing them. Levi Timmermans scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds.”
Vainer’s second game was against #4 2A Pacific Academy of Surrey. “We had issues starting off strong offensively, but because of some changes with who started the game, we were tougher defensively,” Street said.
“A low scoring first half, and we were down by nine at half time. But in the second half the entire team stepped up not only defensively but started to hit open shots and free throws,” Street said.
In the end, after a solid third quarter comeback, the Towhees hit their free throws and came away 67-62 winners. “Coen Leopkey-Johnson played a marvellous game and scored 16 points, while Levi had 23 points again, and Kyle Piercy had a season-high eight steals,” Street said.
The last game was a 96-85 consolation final win for the Towhees over Abbotsford Secondary Panthers.
“This was a high-flying offensive game. Yes, there were defensive issues, but it was good to see the boys were hitting their shots,” Street said.
Timmermans led the way with an all-star effort of 33 points and 14 rebounds while Leopkey-Johnson had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Piercy 19 points and three steals. Rheyden Le and Riley Meyerhoff rounded out the scoring with 10 points each.
Next up for the Towhees will be the Belmont Tournament Dec. 28-30 in Victoria. They then break for the holidays and return to action Jan. 5-7 at the Claremont Spartans Tournament.
Vanier opens North Island League play Jan. 10 at Dover Bay in Nanaimo, then hosts their annual Towhee Tournament Jan. 13-14.
Joining the Towhees will be the Rutland Voodoos (Kelowna), Parkland Panthers (Sidney), New Westminster Hyacks, Kwalikum Kondors (Qualicum Beach), Timberline Wolves (Campbell River), Royal Bay Ravens (Victoria) and W.J. Mouat.
Opening round games on Jan. 13 feature Timberline vs. Kwalikum at 2:30 p.m., Rutland vs. New West at 4:15 p.m., Royal Bay vs. W.J. Mouat at 6 p.m. and Vanier vs. Parkland at 7:45 p.m.
Action continues Jan. 14 with games from 8:20 a.m. to the final at 8 p.m. Awards and presentations will follow.
FREE THROWS Killarney defeated Wellington to win last year’s Towhee Tournament…host Vanier has won the event 10 times, the last in 2015…