T-Birds fourth in elite invitational basketball event
The first Cowichan Elite Invitational senior boys’ basketball tournament hosted by the Cowichan Thunderbirds turned out to be a great success with eight teams battling for supremacy Friday and Saturday after opening with exhibition games Thursday.
The T-Birds finished fourth.
“We had a good weekend of basketball competing against some very competitive schools in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan,’’ noted Cowichan coach Sandeep Heer.
“We are simply trying to improve each time playing heading into league play next Tuesday. I felt that the boys competed hard and never let up.’’
Cowichan took on Sheldon Williams Collegiate of Regina in its first game and eked out a 65-61 victory.
Josh Charles came up from the Cowichan juniors and poured in 25 points to lead the offense. Nick Essar had 19 in the losing cause.
In other quarterfinal games, Oak Bay upended Dover Bay — a late replacement for J.N. Burnett of Richmond — 85-54, Belmont nipped St. Mary’s of Calgary 64-62 and St. Michael’s outdueled Harry Ainlay of Edmonton 84-81.
Liam Horne paced Oak Bay with 20 points while Mike Pierra countered with 14 for Dover.
Eric Spaven set the pace for Belmont with 24 points. Cameron Driscoll was the leading scorer for St. Mary’s with 17.
Georgios Ikonomou had the hot hand for St. Michael’s with 24 points. Andriy Halushko of Harry Ainlay upstaged him with 28.
Losing teams went into consolation play Friday night and Sheldon Williams won 91-49 over Dover while Harry Ainlay defeated St. Mary’s 75-65.
Saturday’s semifinal games featured a 54-48 win for St. Michael’s over Belmont behind Matt Rud’s 12 points while Horne exploded for 25 points as Oak Bay beat Cowichan 78-64 despite 15 points from Cyrus Gray.
Oak Bay went on to capture the championship with a 60-54 win against St. Michael’s, sparked by Matt Gray’s 15 points. Rud had 12 in vain.
Cowichan lost the battle for third place 56-46 to Belmont.
Spaven led the scoring with 28 points while Jerod Dorby racked up 19 for Cowichan.
Cowichan’s Braydon Aumen and Cyrus Gray were both tournament all-star selections.
Horne was the MVP.
Other all-stars included: Oak Bay’s Matt Hampton and Noah Harris; Rud and Ikonomou of St. Michael’s; Belmont’s Kane Johnston; Ryan Delwo of Sheldon Williams; Jared Schubert of Harry Ainlay; and Nicholas Molina from St. Mary’s.
The T-Birds open North Island league play at home Tuesday against Alberni.