Burnaby South edges out Churchill in finals to win Telus Classic

Burnaby South grade-11 star Jermaine Haley was a force in Saturday's final vs Winston Churchill at the 14th-annual Telus Classic. - Brian Jones Photo

Burnaby South’s grade-11 star Jermaine Haley was a force in Saturday’s final vs Winston Churchill at the 14th-annual Telus Classic. – Brian Jones Photo

The Burnaby South Rebels held a slim 68-67 advantage over the Winston Churchill Bulldogs with about a minute and a half remaining on the clock in the finals of the Telus Basketball Classic.

At that point, I was sitting on the press row next to tournament director Howard Kelsey, and while his mind was most likely preoccupied with thoughts of post-game speeches and scholarship presentations, he couldn’t help but just sit back and enjoy the barnburner that was unfolding before him.

“This couldn’t have been a better end to the tournament,” said Kelsey, summing up in words what the writers around him, the fans above him, and the players and coaches in front of him were surely thinking.

Burnaby South used a huge fourth quarter from its grade-11 players to gut out a 77-75 win over Churchill in the championship final of the 14th-annual Telus Basketball Classic, held at UBC’s War Memorial Gym on Saturday night.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

PacWest Week 5 Power Rankings – A new #1 emerges

angara’s win over VIU on Saturday lifts them up in this week’s rankings. - Brian Jones Photo

angara’s win over VIU on Saturday lifts them up in this week’s rankings. – Brian Jones Photo

Only one change in this week’s Power Rankings, but it’s a major one.

VIU, who held the number-one spot in the rankings for the first four weeks of the season, has dropped to the number-two spot, trading places with Langara after the Falcons beat the Mariners 102-85 at home in Vancouver on Saturday.

VIU didn’t look as strong as usual against Douglas the night before, escaping with an 83-79 win, and then had a lot of trouble trying to keep up with the surging Falcons the following afternoon.

Langara has been on a terror since shedding their only loss to Quest in week two. The Falcons have eclipsed the 100-point mark in each of their last five bouts, and in six of eight total games so far this season.

“I would say we’re right on track. We’re just now figuring out how to use our bench effectively,” said Langara’s head coach Paul Eberhardt. “We had a much better idea how to use our bench last year than this year, but we’re starting to get good rotations and guys are figuring out how to play with each other. I’m happy where we’re at, but we still have a long way to go.”

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

Brody Greig, Elliot Mason light it up as Langara hands VIU first loss

Langara point guard Brody Greig fought through injury and put up a massive triple-double in a win over VIU. - Brian Jones Photo

Langara point guard Brody Greig fought through injury and put up a massive triple-double in a win over VIU. – Brian Jones Photo

Brody Greig hadn’t practiced all week.

According to Greig’s coach, Paul Eberhardt, the point guard’s knee was the “size of a blimp” on Wednesday, and that he had to have it drained and then take antibiotics.

When his Langara College Falcons hosted the Camosun College Chargers on Friday November 29, Greig sat the game out and watched his teammates cruise to a 110-78 victory.

Eberhardt tweeted later that night that Greig was “doubtful” for Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

So what did Greig end up doing on Saturday afternoon, you wonder?

Not much… except play all 40 minutes, drop 21 points, grab 10 rebounds and dish out 16 assists – leading his team to a 102-85 win over VIU – handing the Mariners’ their first loss of the season.

“I really wasn’t sure if he’d play until game time, but then he just said ‘Don’t worry about it, I’m good to go,’” said Eberhardt.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

B.C. ballers motivated after #1-ranked Findlay Prep puts on show in Langley

Kansas commit Kelly Oubre showed absolutely none of what’s tattooed on his right bicep against B.C.’s best this past weekend. - Ron Hole Photo

Kansas commit Kelly Oubre showed absolutely none of what’s tattooed on his right bicep against B.C.’s best this past weekend. – Ron Hole Photo

The Findlay Prep Pilots are not your typical high school basketball team.

Their 12-man roster boasts nine players with a height of over 6-foot-6 and chiseled 200-plus pound frames that seem to be carved from the tools of Michelangelo Naismith himself.

The Pilots have an impressive track record since the program began in 2007, with a list of recent alumni that includes current NBA players DeAndre Liggins, Avery Bradley, Myck Kabongo, Cory Joseph, Tristan Thompson and last year’s number-one overall pick in the NBA Draft – Anthony Bennett.

The talent that Findlay has cultivated and subsequently produced has been nothing short of phenomenal, and this season’s roster is no exception.

When the Pilots travelled north to Langley, British Columbia this past weekend to take on a pair of B.C. all-star teams as part of the second-annual Tsumura Basketball Invitational (TBI), measuring sticks were abundant.

In the two games, held on back-to-back Saturday and Sunday nights, Findlay beat the pair of TBI Selects squads with relative ease. The lopsided results were expected, with the prep school currently ranked as the number-one program in the United States, but the experience for everyone involved was invaluable.

For the Pilots, it gave them an appreciation for the homegrown local talent that B.C. offers, and for the Canadians, it left them with a sense of worth, and more importantly, motivation – in terms of seeing what can result from relentless hard work and an obsessive devotion to development.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

VIU escapes Douglas with tough win, remains undefeated

VIU’s Brandon Jones had on off-night against Douglas, but still led all scorers with 19 points. - Brian Jones photo

VIU’s Brandon Jones had on off-night against Douglas, but still led all scorers with 19 points. In the throwback above, Jones goes to the bucket during the 2012 PacWest championship semifinals. – Brian Jones photo

The Vancouver Island University Mariners had everything to lose on Friday night.

They had an undefeated record. They presented perfection dating back to last season’s national title. They came in ranked third in the CCAA’s national rankings. And, they had something a little more tangible to lose – their pride and confidence.

But it’s those last two that mattered most. Those two crucial facets of VIU’s identity, the building blocks of their genetic makeup that make them so good in the first place, were what helped them walk out of their battle with the Douglas College Royals not quite unscathed, but still undefeated.

VIU left New Westminster with an 83-79 win over Douglas last night, though the outcome was in question up until roughly 19 seconds left in the game.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

PacWest Week 4 Power Rankings

Elliot Mason, the 6-6 Langara sharpshooter, earned PacWest Player of The Week honours for his 16-point, 11-rebound performance versus Douglas on November 22. - Brian Jones Photo

Elliot Mason, the 6-6 Langara sharpshooter, earned PacWest Player of The Week honours for his 16-point, 11-rebound performance versus Douglas on November 22. – Brian Jones Photo

With only a single game of basketball for each team this past weekend and no resulting upsets, the rankings haven’t budged since Week 3.

VIU hammered Camosun 93-51, urging me to completely disband the term ‘island rivalry’ from my vocabulary for the rest of the season. I’m upset to have even mentioned it in that last sentence.

Brandon Jones, third in PacWest scoring at 19.3 points per game, had a rather quiet offensive outing but still managed to put up an impressive stat line, tallying nine points, seven rebounds and 13 assists. The frontcourt duo of Jason Fortin and Seth Goodman led the Mariners in scoring at 19 and 14 respectively. Goodman and Fortin are currently the top-two rebounders in the league, with the former slightly edging out the latter 9.2 to 8.5.

VIU is torching the rest of the Lower Mainland, scoring 25.4 more points on average than their opponents so far.

But the lull in movement throughout the rankings may be short lived.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

Langara beats Douglas, but draws ire of coach

    Langara Falcons point guard, and PacWest player of the week, Brody Greig. - Brian Jones Photo

Langara Falcons point guard, and PacWest player of the week, Brody Greig. – Brian Jones Photo

Two questions have hung over the Langara College Falcons like a cumulus Vancouver cloud for over a month:

Are they as good as they were last year?

And, can they beat VIU?

The answer to the first question is subjective. They’ve lost big pieces from last year’s historical provincial championship run, but their best players have gotten better and the supporting cast is still one of the best second units in the PacWest.

They addressed the doubts that any skeptic (including myself) had about their depth last night, as the Falcons bench contributed 43 points in a 101-80 win over the Douglas College Royals at Langara’s campus.

Four of the starting fourth-years posted double-digit scoring numbers, and Maple Ridge’s Max Neumann had his best game of the adolescent season, adding 10 points, eight rebounds, three emphatic blocks and went a perfect two of two from distance in 17 minutes off the pine.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.