All-North Van girls final, WRCA vs. No. 1 Kits in boys battle royale

Friday, December 7, 2012 – Submitted by Howard Tsumura, The Province


Handsworth Royals players celebrate a win over Brookswood Bobcats on Friday at the Telus Classic. (Arlen Redekop, PNG)

The finals have been set for the 13th annual Telus Basketball Classic tonight at UBC’s War Memorial Gymnasium.
On the boys side, the No. 1 Kitsilano Blue Demons will clash with the No. 3 White Rock Christian Academy Warriors, while on the girls side, an all-North Vancouver showdown has been put in place between the No. 5 Handsworth Royals and the No. 9 Argyle Pipers.
Here’s a game-by-game look at Friday’s action, all contested at Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Secondary:

VANCOUVER — No. 1 is playing like it.

The Kitsilano Blue Demons improved to 8-0 on Friday, winning its Telus Basketball Classic semifinal 80-70 over the Kelowna Owls.

A back-court which is far from the flashiest unit head coach Randy Coutts has put on the floor over his long history at the school, but perhaps one of the most chemistry- and character-driven, knocked down big shots and drove the lanes created by blue-chip front court standout Luka Zaharijevic. And with all of the parts humming along, Coutts had to pay tribute to the early-season efficiency of his group.

“It’s been a good team effort all the way,” said Coutts. “Overall, the guard play has been awesome and guys are buying in to the team concepts. The ball is really moving and the sets are moving well.”

On Friday, point guard Justin Sze epitomized all of the good things happening on the floor, earning 16 total free throw trips and scoring a game-high 28 points. Sze didn’t sink a bucket in the fourth quarter but got to the stripe 10 times.

Meanwhile, the trimmed down but stronger Zaharijevic scored 21 points when he wasn’t keeping the defence at bay with his smooth passing touch.

“We want the ball inside and Luka is a great passer,” continued Coutts. “He’s dropped eight or nine pounds since last season, but he’s added muscle. It’s made him way more agile in the post and his lateral quickness has really improved since last year. He’s so much more effective in that he can take guys off the dribble now, whereas before it was more catching the ball closer to the basket and using post moves. They are doubling and tripling him, but the ball is coming out and we’re hitting open shots.”

Kelowna got balanced scoring and came on strong over the stretch drive. They just didn’t have enough in the end.
Joel Burma led the way with 14 points. Malcolm Hlady and Buzz Truss added 13 each, while John Katerberg and Cooper Simpson added 10 each.

VANCOUVER — The White Rock Christian Academy Warriors wanted to run a track meet.

Instead, they discovered they had to put on their coveralls and go work in the ditch.

The most remarkable thing about B.C.’s No. 3-ranked Triple A team is that they are equally adept at doing both.

“We were hoping to out-run them, but it ended up being our inside game,” said WRCA head coach Dale Shury. “Vartan was unstoppable under the hoop, he has such awesome touch. And Peter, we keep encouraging him to the take it to the rack. He is so quick.”

Those players, are of course, Vartan Tanielian and Peter Spangehl, who on Friday combined to score 51 of the team’s 90 points. Tanielian scored a team-high 32 and Spangehl a further 19, and the Warriors needed all of them to hold back the Irish’s game-breaking force Gogy Kumanan, who scored a game-high 34 points.

WRCA put the Irish on the spot off the opening tip, jumping out to a 10-0 lead, but the Irish came roaring back and trailed just 44-38 at the half.

WRCA point guard Tyus Allen scored 14 in the win, while Sam Ykema added 13. For the Irish, Ruslan Tyab added 15 points and Ben Kaadal a further 14.

VANCOUVER — Anthony Fortunaso watched just how effective Langley’s No. 2-ranked Brookswood Bobcats were last week in their win over the No. 1-ranked South Kamloops Titans.

On Thursday, the head coach of North Vancouver’s ninth-ranked Argyle Pipers took his seat courtside and watched his team put together an early-season classic, topping the Bobcats 86-77 in the semifinals of the Telus Basketball Classic at Vancouver’s Sir Winston Churchill Secondary.

Pipers’ guard-forward Chelsea Dekleer scored a career-high 33 points in the victory, and afterwards earned the praise of Fortunaso.

“Chelsea had the game of her life tonight,” said the coach. “I have coached her since Grade 8 and I told her after the game that she picked the perfect time to play the best game of her life.”

The victory sets up an all-North Shore clash in Saturday’s championship final at UBC’s War Memorial Gym after the Pipers’ chief crosstown rivals, the Handsworth Royals, beat PoCo’s Riverside Rapids 53-52.

Arygle post Robyn Aulin-Haynes, who finished with 17 points on the night, converted a huge and-one play with 2:53 remaining. Taking an entry feed, Aulin-Haynes got her turnaround effort to fall, then stepped up and made the free throw, putting the Pipers on top 79-73.

“There’s a lot of good posts in the province,” said Fortunaso., “and to me Robyn is one one of them. She was amazing.”
Guard Clare Elliott followed with a steal and breakaway layin for an 81-73 lead with 1:05 remaining, then Dekleer stepped up and knocked down two free throws to make it 82-73 with 53 seconds left.

“Clare played such tenacious defence the whole game,” Fortunaso added. “We never took her off and she guarded Sydney Williams, who is one of the best in the province. And she scored some big baskets for us.”
Elliott finished with 19 points.

The loss for the Bobcats comes five days after they beat No. 1-ranked South Kamloops at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational. No rankings were released by the girls association this week, but if they had the Bobcats most certainly would have been ranked No. 1.

Williams led the Bobcats with 26 points while Lindsay Wand added 23.

VANCOUVER — The Telus Basketball Classic isn’t shy about treating its finalists in the best possible way, and with that in mind, North Vancouver’s Handsworth Royals entered their semifinal game against PoCo’s Riverside Rapids on Friday championing the motto ‘We Want The Bus’.

“If you get into the final they come and pick you up in a big coach bus,” said Royals’ head coach Scott Palmer after his charges edged the Rapids 53-52. “The drop you right off in front of UBC. It”s like an NBA bus, a big, hinkin’ coach. The girls get to feel like rock stars.”