The G.P. Vanier Towhees have their 2016-17 senior boys high school basketball season off to flying start.
They opened Nov. 29 in Port Alberni with a 117-44 exhibition win against the Armada. “Two very contrasting styles for the fans,” said Vanier head coach Larry Street.
“Alberni was 3-for-53 for three-point shots. They subbed five players every two to three minutes and pressed, pressed, pressed everywhere.”
Vanier meanwhile tried to be more under control, play good half-court defence, and learn to play together. “A strange game, but fun for our boys,” said Street.
Vanier scoring was well distributed. Kyle Piercy led with 20 points and had five steals; Levi Timmermans had 18 points and 12 rebounds; Rheyden Le added 14 points and five steals; Bernardo Freitas chipped in 14 points; Alejandro Pico added 14 points and Grade 10 Graeme Trask had 12 points and nine rebounds.
On Dec. 1-3 the Towhees were on the road for the Chilliwack Tournament, where they won two of three games to take second place.
“Our first game was a good 79-74 win against B.C. 2A Honourable Mention Abby Abbotsford Christian,” Street said. Piercy led again with 20 points while Coen Leopkey-Johnson had 19 points. Timmermans added 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“This was a great comeback win since we were down most of the game but tied it at the end of the third quarter.”
Friday’s semifinal was against top 15 team Sardis. “This was a bit different because we took control right off the bat with excellent team defence and led for more of the game,” said Street. “But the Sardis team, experienced in playing at the 4A B.C.’s last year, made a big comeback and tied the game early in the fourth.
“Piercy and Coen Leopkey had to come up big late in the game, and we won 64-63. Kyle had 21 points, Coen 13 points and four steals, four assists, and Levi added 16 points and nine rebounds. Riley Meyerhoff was a beast on the boards with 11 big ones in the second half.”
The Towhees met Rutland in Saturday’s championship final. “They are a feisty, young, excellent shooting team who pressured us the entire game,” said Street.
“We think it wore down the boys, who made a valiant effort to come back in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough, as we lost 73-60.”
Timmermans (24 points) was a first all star, and Coen Leopkey was a second all star. Next top scorer for the Towhees was Piercy with nine points.
The Towhees see their first home action this weekend (Dec. 9-10) when they host their annual Gus Vesterback Tournament. The four-team round-robin starts Friday at 5:45 p.m. with Kwalikum taking on Vic High. Vanier plays perennial Fraser Valley powerhouse Maple Ridge at 7:30 p.m.
Play continues Saturday with Maple Ridge vs. Kwalikum at 10 a.m., Vanier vs. Vic High at 11:45 a.m., Vic High vs. Maple Ridge at 3:45 p.m. and Vanier vs. Kwalikum at 5:30 p.m.
FREE THROWS The Towhees are fourth in the second Vancouver Island 4A boys rankings released Dec. 4, with Mark Isfeld Ice #2 in Island 3A…the Ice were tied for seventh in the B.C. 3A pre-season poll released Nov. 27 …