Junior Boys Basketball
The SMUS Junior Boys Basketball team enjoyed its most successful week of the season, winning two league games and then capping off the weekend by capturing the championship in the eight-team Spartan Invitational Tournament at Claremont.
It was a total team effort for the Junior Jags in the Claremont tournament, as they won three straight games including a tight 54-52 victory over BC’s ninth-ranked St. George’s Saints of Vancouver in Saturday afternoon’s championship game.
Guard Dani Pelyhe scored 26 points in the final to lead the Blue Jags and was selected tournament MVP for his performance. Forward Eliot Tait added 12 points and earned tournament all-star honours for his tremendous defence, rebounding and scoring over the three games. Mats Goedde came off the bench in the final to make two critical three-pointers and a pair of clutch end-game free throws and Will Zielinksi and Henry Williamson led a concerted team effort to limit the Saints’ star forward to 15 points. Parker Sheehan also contributed his trademark outstanding perimeter defence, hustle and grit, as well as eight key points in the second quarter.
The Blue Jags opened the tournament on Friday with a hard-fought 70-60 win over Mark Isfeld of Courtenay. Tait led the way in that victory with 20 points while Jaiden Daniels had 14 and also helped Tait, Quinn McMeekin and Declan Longridge control the boards over the entire weekend. In Saturday’s morning semifinal, SMUS overcame some early hot shooting by Lambrick Park to defeat the Lions 47-38. Pelyhe and Tait each had 15 points to lead SMUS while Williamson added 12 points.
Earlier in the week, the Junior Jags overcame a six-point halftime deficit on the road to beat Claremont 62-50 in a Lower Island league game on Tuesday. Pelyhe had 37 points in that win and the SMUS defence clamped down on the Spartans in the second half. On Wednesday, the Blue Jags downed Royal Bay 68-35 in another league contest. Will Bateson led the way with 17 points, including four three-pointers in the final quarter. McMeekin and Tait added 10 apiece as every Blue Jag dressed hit the scoresheet.
The SMUS Juniors have just one league game left – a home showdown on Wednesday with Oak Bay, the province’s No. 2-ranked junior team. The game will determine first place in the Lower Island league regular season with each team now sporting a 9-0 record. Tip off is at 7:15 pm.
Senior Boys Basketball
The SMUS Senior Boys recorded one of their biggest wins of the season this past weekend, beating BC 2A third-ranked Collingwood on their way to a fourth-place finish in the 16-team Brentwood College Countdown to the Playoffs Tournament.
The Blue Jags opened the tournament with a 67-64 victory over Courtenay’s GP Vanier on the strength of 22 points from senior guard Lincoln Faulkner and 15 from Taiga Parmar. That win propelled them into Friday’s quarter-final round against the highly ranked Cavaliers.
Senior swingman Damon Bains scored 19 points to lead SMUS past Collingwood 78-75 in a win that may move the Blue Jags, an honourable mention in the most recent poll, back into the provincial Top 10. Faulkner added 16 points, Kian Colgate 12 and Davis Hardy 11 as SMUS outscored the Cavaliers 9-3 over the stretch run of the game.
That quarter-final win may have taken a bit too much out of the Jags, who had to face local rival and provincially fifth-ranked Lambrick Park in a semifinal later on Friday. The Blue Jags were also playing without big man Elliot Mairet (ankle) as they fell 89-57 to the Lions. Colgate had 16 points in the loss while Faulkner added 14.
That result moved the Blue Jags into Saturday’s third-place game, where they faced Brentwood College. SMUS dropped a 75-54 decision to the tournament hosts to place fourth overall in the strong field. Colgate again led the Blue Jags with 12 points while Hardy had 11 and Parmar nine.
The Senior Boys have a busy upcoming week with three Lower Island league games – Tuesday at home vs. Parkland, on Wednesday at Pacific Christian and on Thursday at home vs. Glenlyon-Norfolk School. All three games tip off at 7:30 pm.
Senior Girls Basketball
After winning the Victoria City Police Tournament the previous week, the Senior Girls Basketball team spent last week practising. The provincially No. 1-ranked Blue Jags will resume action with a home game this Tuesday against Pacific Christian at 5:45 pm before heading to the Lower Mainland for the Tournament for Tessa on Friday and Saturday.
Junior Girls Basketball
The Junior Girls Basketball team also enjoyed a relatively quiet week, playing just one game. The Blue Jags beat visiting Claremont 62-36 on Wednesday, led by 25 points from Indigo Edgington and 17 from Elspeth Rodger.
The Junior Girls play their final league game on Wednesday, hosting Oak Bay in a 5:45 pm tip off. As with the Junior Boys, both these Junior Girls teams are undefeated in Lower Island play (each at 5-0) so this game will determine the regular season title and which team goes into playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
This coming weekend, the SMUS Junior Girls head to Vancouver, where they will play Walnut Grove, Riverside and New Westminster in the Tournament for Tessa.
Grade 9 Boys Basketball
The SMUS Grade 9 Boys won two of three contests they played in a Mount Douglas Junior Boys Tournament this past weekend.
The Blue Jags featured an ever-changing roster due to previous exam and field trip commitments but nevertheless fared very well in the event. They added a few members of the SMUS Junior team to supplement their lineup for the opening game of the tournament on Thursday and that combination beat Nanaimo District Secondary’s Junior team 53-47.
The regular SMUS Grade 9 roster then split its final two games of the tournament against Grade 9/10 competition, beating Edward Milne ‘B’ 73-31 and falling 48-43 to Belmont ‘B’.
Players of note for SMUS in the tournament included Will Bateson, Frank Tasi, Ming Tsang, Liam Pope-Lau and Azaad Gill
Grade 9 Lower Island league play is now drawing to a close in advance of city playoffs February 12 and 14. The SMUS Grade 9 Boys will play two road games this week – on Monday at Oak Bay Grade 9s (5:45 pm) and Thursday at St. Andrew’s Juniors (4:15 pm).
SMUS Athletes of the Month
Basketball players Maddy Albert and Dani Pelyhe were honoured last week as SMUS Athletes of the Month for December.
Albert, a Grade 12 forward with the SMUS Senior Girls team, led the Blue Jags on the boards, averaging 10 rebounds per game and helping to propel SMUS into the No. 1 spot atop the BC 3A Girls rankings. She has provided a fierce competitive spirit, tremendous athleticism and reliable defence en route to player-of-the-game honours at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational, and the Tournament for Emily.
Pelyhe, a standout Grade 10 guard with the SMUS Junior Boys team, helped the Blue Jags to a 12-3 record in December with his leadership, scoring and playmaking. Pelyhe was named a tournament all-star at Oak Bay’s Gary Taylor Classic, and has received numerous player-of-the-game and other honours since.