Eight teams have packed their bags and kissed their family's goodbye. They're all waiting at the gates, but only four will earn a ticket to Semi Final Friday. Will it be the little-team-that-could from Vancouver Island, one of the tremendous TriCity teams, one of the Surrey Sensations, or the reigning champions from the South?
Keep on reading to find out all the happs from Elite Eight Thursday!
Oak Bay Bays vs. Terry Fox Ravens
The first game of the day started off with a lovely layup off the hands of Diego Maffia. In Raven fashion though, the relentless boys from North side PoCo brought the hype early on as the two teams went neck-in-neck on the scoreboard in the opening quarter.
Terry Fox went into beast mode to close out the half, nearly going up 20 points on Oak Bay. Ravens led 51-33.
Due to foul trouble by Bays' Jaime Molins, the team seemed to fall apart after the second and was unable to recover. Without key pieces in Oak Bay's offensive game clicking (Maffia was 4-21 on 3-Ptr throughout the entire game), Terry Fox took care of business on the court. They shut down the Bays with a final score of 100-66.
Ravens' Grady Stanyer picked up a doub-doub and Player of the Game honours. He scored 22 points and 21 rebounds! While Cameron Slaymaker was an absolute unit with 31 points and 10 rebounds for Fox, as well.
Oak Bay's Diego Maffia put up 23 of his own, with 8 rebounds, and 6 assists--a valiant effort by the Bays; the shots were just not in their favour today.
Terry Fox is flyin' first class to the Semi Finals!
Heritage Woods Kodiaks vs. Kelowna Owls
Heritage Woods brought the whole band out to cheer the Kodiaks on in the second game of the day (see below for photo evidence).
Any team that brings out a saxophone is a winner in my books. Alright, back to the game. HW were first on the scoreboard with an in-yo-face layup from Arshia Movassaghi. But Kelowna swooped down on the Kodiaks like hungry hawks to establish themselves early on.
Owls' star guard Parker Johnstone crushed in 2 treys, and went 6-9 for FG %, totalling 16 points in the first half. Despite Movassaghi's 19 points of his own, Kodiaks trailed by just one at halftime, with the score 44-43 in favour of Kelowna.
However, Heritage utilized their big, with Zach Hamed returning in the third after getting into a bit of foul trouble to begin the game. Hamed's presence on the court seemed to give the Kodiaks a much needed boost, given they took control on the scoreboard and ended the quarter 65-61 over K-Town.
In the final 10, the Colossal Kodiaks kept on growlin'! They stayed up until around the midway mark of the fourth, where Kelowna loaded up the ice trays, sinking a splashy three to come within just 2 points. After hitting a FT, the Burly Birds were down by just one point.
Fouls destroy chances, folks. The Owls grabbed another two points after a lil mishap by Heritage and one, yet again, after another foul. With less than 3 minutes to go, the Killer K-Town Owls were seeing red. They took the final lead over the Kodiaks and sent those bears back to Port Moody. After an amazing upset on Day 1, the Heritage Woods Kodiaks ran out of gas in this one.
The Kelowna Owls grabbed the next golden ticket to the Semis, with Parker Johnstone being named Player of the Game for the second time this tourney! Johnstone had 30 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
It's going to be a Battle of the Birds on Semi Final Friday, as K-Town plays Terry Fox at 8:45pm in the Arena of the LEC.
Holy Cross Crusaders vs. Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers
The third game of the day featured two Surrey Sensations: The Holy Cross Crusaders and the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers. With a packed crowd cheering for both sides, you knew this one was going to be LIT! Crusaders conquered the court early with an amazing 20-2 to begin the quarter. Even though Holy Cross had a staggering lead, the Panthers were no stranger to Come Back Szn. They closed out an 18-point deficit and eventually equalized on the scoreboard at 40 a piece heading into the second half of the game.
With a semifinal berth on the line, the Panthers sharpened their claws and locked up their defence, allowing minimal points out of Cross' Michael Risi and Uyi Ologhola, who seemed to struggle in the paint and from the field for much of the third quarter. Tweedsmuir's Austin Swedish went for back-to-back layups midway through the quarter, with a little help from Alex Le who banged in a beautiful three to keep the Panthers ahead.
Under two minutes remaining, Risi took the Crusaders up to within just four points of their opponent, but Lord Tweedsmuir sunk another one at the free throw line to keep a mean five points ahead. As the seconds ticked away, Panthers' Arjun Samra held the ball as long as possible giving Jaden Reid a chance to lay it up, which he did. Tweeds stayed up 61-55 with only 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Panthers continued their domination in the final quarter, going on a 7-0 run before Crusaders' Thomas Jay Fujimura hit a wet three. But the Cross boys were lacking a bit of their usual unity while moving the ball in transition. Tweedsmuir played with enormous heart and skill, taking home a huge W and securing their spot in the Semifinals 79-69 over Holy Cross.
Samra scored 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Panthers, while Crusaders' Risi and Ologhola grabbed double-doubles with 16 points/10 rebounds and 12 points/15 rebounds, respectively.
Tweeds is the third team out of the Elite Eight to punch a ticket to the Semis!
Burnaby South Rebels vs. Centennial Centaurs
And then there were two. With four of the Elite Eight matchups under Day 2's belt, Burnaby South and Centennial were last to duke it out. Centaurs slammed in a powerful layup, but South clapped back with Sasha Vujisic, as he grabbed another two shortly after to secure a slight lead.
Centennial kept it close, though, with Dominic Parolin going 5-7 from the field in the first half, keeping the Centaurs within 12 points of the Rebels. Those Rebellious Rebels rebounded with resilience, racking up 22 (compared to Centaurs 11) in the opening quarters.
South led 36-24.
Though Cent came out swinging in the third, they were unable to close the near 20-point deficit between them and Burnaby. There was a scary moment for the Rebels, however; when Vujisic went down late in the fourth with what looked like an ankle injury. For the remainder of the game, he stayed in the locker room.
Despite losing one of their clutch players, the Burnaby South Rebels punched the last ticket to the Semifinals with a final score of 81-62 over the Centennial Centaurs. Player of the Game was awarded to Sasha Vujisic with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Hopefully we'll see him back in the lineup for the big semifinal match--get well soon, Sasha.
The Burnaby South Rebels will take on the tough Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers at 7pm in the Arena of the Langley Events Centre.
Will there be another upset on Semi Final Friday? Keep it locked on BC Sports Hub to find out! Be sure to follow along for our LIVE score updates, photos, and video highlights on our Instagram.
Written & Photographed by: Crystal Scuor