The G.P. Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball team embarked on their annual trek to New Westminster the last week of school before the holiday break (Dec. 17-19) and for the 18th year in a row attended the Hyack Tournament.
This particular trip was very rewarding, and a huge notch was etched on each player’s experience rope as the Towhees came away champions, their second tournament win in a row. It’s not often Vanier makes it to the final of the New West tournament, and this time winning a big second game made their efforts easier.
First the initial game, versus Johnson Heights of Surrey, a small but scrappy group who just couldn’t handle Vanier’s size and skill. After cruising to a first half score of 38-23 based mainly on the Towhees’ stingy defence, the boys from Courtenay soared on to 72-57 win.
All 11 players got floor time, and four players were in double figures…. Anders Storgaard (16 points), Ben Jungwirth (12), Tyler Knopp (15) and Player of the Game Bryce Olsen (23 points, 11 rebounds). Mr. Energy Brandon Balon gets our defence going and cashed in on five steals. The Towhees also outrebounded Heights 49-17.
Game two was against top-15 team West Vancouver who won the Junior B.C.’s last year. A very skilled group of talented players these Highlanders were no match for Vanier’s size and athleticism. Even though they attempted to press and fast break………….to no avail since the Towhees did a very good job of controlling the tempo and the ball with a season low of only eight turnovers.
Vanier dominated inside play and the rebounding and even though two starters fouled out in the middle of the fourth the bench of Grade 11s came through with good focus down the stretch. Chase Hobenshield was the high scorer for this game with 20 points and seven rebounds. Tyler Knopp added 13 points and lots of energy, Anders Storgaard 12 and Bryce Olsen eight. Brandon Balon had to hold things together with four Grade 11s at the end, and had a superb ball control game. Towhees win 65-60.
The championship game was against McRoberts of Richmond. Again, a small team that was no match for the Towhees’ bigness. Every Towhee scored in this walk away of 90-58. Anders Storgaard had 18 points and 15 rebounds and was the Tournament MVP. Bryce Olsen (first all-star) chipped in 17 and 13 rebounds while Chase Hobenshield was Player of the Game with 12 points, and drawing plenty of attention away from his teammates with his 6’7” frame.
The Grade 11s are starting to get what we want, and comments include “My, how big your team is!” and “Coach, you have a very good team!” As coaches we still think there is a long ways to go, but the boys believe now that they are contenders, and that more championships are still to come,” said head coach Larry Street.
– G.P. Vanier Towhees Basketball