BC AAA Boy's Provincial Day 1 Previews
Game 1: 8:30am - South Kam vs Carihi
South Kamloops is once again fielding on of the favourites to win the provincial tournament. After the senior girls team won the AA Provincial Championship as the number one seeded team, the boys team will be looking to do the same as the number two seeded team.
The Titans finished 8-0 in league play, defeating Vernon 73-58 to clinch a playoff berth. They are led by grade 12 guard Reid Jansen, a player that head coach Timothy Unaegbu has high praise for.
“Reid is no doubt of the premier players the province has to offer” said Unaegbu on Jansen. In my bias opinion, [he] is the best two way player in the province as he will guard the best players while still putting up 18 points, 12 or so assist will bringing down seven rebounds.
In all four years of his high school career, he has led his South Kamloops titans to the provincials which is a respectful accomplishment in itself. He also has competed in the BC boys program the last 3/4 years missing two years ago to heal an injury. Reid is what you call a floor general and a competitor.”
The team also plans on bringing back past alumni who have attended provincials to share their stories and how to be prepared mentally.
Hailing from Campbell River, the Carihi Tyrees will be a tough out for opponents in this tournament. With only two players graduating from last year's team, the Tyees hope the lessons learned from last year will lead to a more successful tournament this time around.
This season, Carihi finished with a 21-8 overall record. They finished second in the Island Championships, losing to Mark Isfeld 72-52 but qualifying for provincials in the process.
The Tyees are an athletic team and their deep bench helps spread the scoring around, although the offensive spark is usually generated by Quinn Nelson, who averages 15.3 points per game. On the defensive end, Jonah Shankar was voted the Island's top defensive player while Jared Perras and Connor Hall also provide solid defence.
Game 2: 10:15am - Pitt Meadows vs Mark Isfeld
The Pitt Meadows Marauders are a team that is coming into the 2018 AAA Provincial tournament in strong form. They won 11 of their past 12 games heading in, and came second in the Fraser Valley tournament. Unfortunately, they lost to North Delta in the final.
The Marauders are led by Giovanni Manu, a 6’8 grade 12 centre who averaged 20 points per game and nine rebounds during the season. He has committed to UBC football for next season. Pitt Meadows also has Conor Laverty, a grade 12 guard who averaged 14 points per game during the season.
Mark Isfeld will be the 11th seed in the 2018 AAA Provincial Championship. From Comox on Vancouver Island, they finished 5-1 in the regular season trailing only G.P Vanier.
Game 3: 12:00pm - Duchess Park vs Rick Hansen
Repeat is the name of the game for the Rick Hansen Hurricanes. After defeating South Kamloops last year, Rick Hansen are looking to defend their title this year.
Rick Hansen finished second in the Fraser Valley Championship, losing to North Delta in overtime. This year however, they start out as the 10th seed, setting up a potential rematch with South Kamloops if they win their first game.
From Prince George, the Duchess Park Condors will be the seventh seed in this year's rendition of the AAA Provincial Championship. A top ten ranked team for most of the season, they are led by guard Colburn Pearce and head coach Jordan Yu. Yu is in his second year coaching the Condors, having played there in high school and then the University of British Columbia.
Game 4: 1:45pm Argyle vs Richmond
The third seed this year, the Argyle Pipers had a tremendous season by all accounts. They finished with a 28-5 overall record, and defeated Bodwell 99-55 to qualify for the provincial tournament.
The Pipers are led by Alex Wallace, the Howe Sound Zone league and tournament MVP. The 6’4, grade 12 guard averaged over 22 points during the regular season. A member of past Basketball BC teams, he scored 44 points in a game against Lord Tweedsmuir earlier in the season.
Argyle also features Devin O’Hea, an SFU football commit who averaged 14 points per game as well as over four steals. Not only is he a talented basketball and football player, but is also a great soccer player — he was selected in grade nine to join the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program.
The Richmond Colts enter the 2018 AAA Provincial Championship as the 13th seed, and are looking to perhaps surprise some people this tournament. The Colts qualified for the provincial tournament as a result of their finish in the Lower Mainland tournament and their 9-1 regular season record.
Game 5: 3:30pm Byrne Creek vs Caledonia
The Byrne Creek Bulldogs should be one of the favourites to take the AAA title this season. After repeating as Lower Mainland champions in late February, Bryne Creek will be the number seed in the tournament.
The Bulldogs are led by Martin Djunga, who had 29 points in the Lower Mainland final against McMath. They finished 8-0 in league play this season.
From Terrace, the Caledonia Kermodes hope to surprise people at the upcoming AAA Provincial Championships. Despite their seeding, head coach Joe Dominguez notes that his team is “a competitive team and [we] hope to surprise some teams this week.”
Caledonia finished with a 14-17 record, and did not play any league games due to Charles Hays dropping down to the AA level. All season, Caledonia has struggled with a short bench but still played many close games against the likes of GW Graham.
The Kermodes are led by Jackson Netzel and Solomon Johnson, who both average 17 points per game. Elijah Azak is the floor general, averaging eight assists per game.
Game 6: 5:15pm - Sir Charles Tupper vs Clayton Heights
The Sir Charles Tupper Tigers are back in the provincial tournament. After finishing second back in 2015, they missed the 2016 and 2017 iterations and will be looking to punch above their weight like they’ve done all season.
Charles Tupper finished 11-0 this year in league play, and finished with a 30-10 overall record. They beat some highly ranked teams throughout the season, defeating the fourth ranked Quad A team W.J. Mouat at the Tammy Holiday classic, and AAA North Delta who were ranked fourth at the time.
Despite the terrific season to date, the team has had to battle injuries throughout the season. They missed third leading scorer Simon Crossfield for a significant amount of time. In fact, they haven’t had a single player who has played all 40 games this season.
But perhaps the most inspiring story this season for Charles Tupper concerns Norben Bulosan. After making his first start for nearly two months because of a concussion, he had 34 points in a win against Saint Thomas More in the AAA Lower Mainland tournament.
Gaurab Acharya led all Tigers in scoring this year, averaging 17.1 point per game. Bulosan averaged 14 a game, while Crossfield had 12 points and eight rebounds per game.
Coming in as the ninth seeded team are the Clayton Heights Nightriders. They finished this season with a 27-6 overall record.
Clayton Heights won the Fleetwood, Brookswood and their home tournaments back in December. They also finished fourth at the Surrey RCMP Basketball Classic in January, behind Semiahmoo, Tamanawis and Lord Tweedsmuir. They are led by Kris Galindez, a grade 11 guard who averaged 14 points per game and Richard Mageto, who averaged 22 points per game as well.
Game 7: 6:45pm - RA McMath vs MEI
The fifth seed in the AAA provincial tournament, the McMath Wildcats have the potential to go on a deep run this year.McMath lost the AAA Lower Mainland final to Byrne Creek after having an early lead. They are led by Victor Radocaj, a standout grade ten who was the youngest player on Canada’s U17 team.
MEI will be the 12th seed in the 2018 AAA Provincial Championship. They will have a tough match up against favoured R.A. McMath in the first round of the tournament.
Game 8: 8:15pm - North Delta vs GP Vanier
Coming in as the fourth seed, the North Delta Huskies are playing with a heavy heart this season. Back in November, legendary former coach Stan Stewardson passed away. As a result, the team has worn a special commemorative patch during warmup and chants “For Stan” before the start of every game.
In the Fraser Valley Final, North Delta overcame a 14 point deficit to defeat Pitt Meadows. Suraj Gahir and Arun Atker hit six three pointers to send it to overtime for the Huskies win. It was the program’s first Fraser Valley Championship in over 25 years.
Suraj Gahir was the team’s leading scorer during it’s 22-9 season, averaging 16 points five assists, and five rebounds. Small forward Armaan Johal had 12 points three assists, and five rebounds.
Representing North Vancouver Island via Courtney, the Georges P. Vanier Towhees will be the 13th seed to start the tournament. They are coached by Larry Street, a 2014 BC Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. In fact, this is Street’s 10th time at provincials with his fifth different team.
Vanier’s leading scorer during the season was Levi Timmermans, who averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds a game. He has been MVP or All-Star in every tournament the team has play in, and is a University of Saskatchewan commitment. Kyle Piercy averaged 14 points per game, while Riley Meyerhoff has over 12 rebounds a game.
This will be Vanier’s first appearance in the provincial tournament since 2007.