The Vanier Towhees senior boys basketball team got their feet wet this past weekend (Nov. 27-29) at the Tip Off Tournament in Duncan where 12 good teams met to find out where they stand early in the season. The Towhees went 1-2 in a tourney that included three top-15 teams and several competitive ones that played their hearts out as well.
Vanier began with top-15 team North Surrey Spartans whose playing style somewhat resembles a beehive. They continued to trap and trap more the entire game to pick up the pace and to create as many fast break baskets as possible.
Fortunately, Vanier must have listened to coach Larry Street about the importance of defence because their outstanding team play on the defensive end kept them in the game. Unfortunately, too many turnovers didn’t give the Towhees much chance to score many points.
The low-scoring game went into overtime with the Spartans prevailing 64-63. Leading the way for the Towhees was senior Bryce Olsen who had 11 rebounds, 22 points and shot 73 per cent from the field. His all-round hustle on defence helped spearhead the rookies, of which there are nine, to a great start to their season, despite the loss. Anders Storgaard contributed 17 points and 16 rebounds.
Next up an hour later were the Brookswood Bobcats from Langley, who were much fresheer due to being able to play their whole bench in a wipeout in their previous game.
Brookswood came out fired up because of the embarrassment they just endured to Oak Bay, while the Towhees, although not to admit it if you asked the players, were noticeably spent from the effort they just went through in overtime. The result was a disappointing 58-53 loss.
“Not having three starters play also affected our play,” said coach Street. “Numerous rookies had to step up and just were not ready yet.” Brandon Balon and Tyler Knopp were the only bright lights for the Towhees with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
The third game on Saturday was against always well-coached Wellington Wildcats of Nanaimo. “Going in without three starters we were more mentally prepared and with some adjustments during the game we found that defence to pull us through to victory,” Street said. “A fine effort by all 10 players and much was learned from this game.” Storgaard led the way with 12 rebounds, 13 points, eight steals and five assists. Knopp played his best game with 16 points and six boards while Balon added 12 points and 5 assists. Darren Smith, in a starting role, grabbed 10 boards and added seven points.
FREE THROWS The Towhees are off to the Chilliwack Tournament this weekend (Dec. 4-6) then look forward to their first home games Dec. 12-13 when they host the Gus Vesterback Tournament …
– Vanier Towhees Basketball