Thunderbirds' junior boys finish ninth at provincials
Cowichan Secondary School's junior boys basketball team brought down the curtain on its season with a ninth-place finish at the provincial championships.
The Thunderbirds won two and lost two of their four games in the tournament at Vancouver College.
Star player Josh Charles finished as a second team all-star after scoring at least 20 points in every game.
"If we had finished a little bit higher in the standings, Josh would have been a first team all-star," co-coach Lucky Walia told the News Leader Pictorial in an email.
Graham McKinnon was presented with the team award, given to one member from each team to acknowledge a player whose attitude, effort and work over the course of the season provides an example to his teammates.
In the opening game of the tournament, the Thunderbirds lost 50-48 to D.P. Todd, with Charles scoring 30 points, including four three-pointers in the final quarter.
"It was a close first game,'' said team member Kain Melchior. "The first game would have bumped us up to a better position.''
"They were just able to make a few more plays than us,'' noted Walia. "Their centre was the provincial team starter and made a pretty big impact on the game."
Game two saw the Thunderbirds defeat Killarney 63-50, with Travis McDonald (player of the game) and Charles both hitting 25 points.
"Spanning the third and fourth quarter, we went on a 21-2 run, playing some really disciplined team basketball," noted Walia.
Game three brought another win for the Thunderbirds, 49-42 over Handsworth. Charles hit 29 points including "a great dunk to seal the game off of a beautiful backdoor pass by his brother, Noah," commented Walia. "Handsworth is very physical and pressed all game."
The final game ended in a 50-46 loss to Walnut Grove despite 20 points from Charles.
"Walnut Grove is a good team and we knew this would be a close game," said Walia. "They had a 12-point lead after scoring the first basket of the fourth quarter but we then made a 13 to two run to close the gap to 45-44. They managed to hang on and win by four after we started to foul intentionally."
Lots of guys contributed in the game. Jeeven Sall came off the bench to provide a lift with seven points.
Despite losing their final game of the provincials, the Thunderbirds can look back on the season with pride after winning four other tournaments: Victoria Tip-Off, North Shore Invitational, Thunderbird Classic and the Central Island Championship.