Kelowna Owls defeat Vancouver College 88-80 in Telus Classic

Saturday, December 10, 2011 – Submitted by Cam Tucker, Vancouver Sun


Vancouver College Irish #8 Justin Sanvido (white)versus Kelowna Owls #25 Bracston Brunce during 2011 Telus Basketball Classic Boys Final at UBC War Memorial Gymn in Vancouver on Saturday, December 10, 2011.
Photograph by: Les Bazso, PNG

It was close. For two quarters, the Kelowna Owls and Vancouver College Fighting Irish were neck and neck in a game that some couldn’t help but think was a preview for playoff basketball in March.

That could very well be the case in a few months.

But the second half of Saturday’s Telus Basketball Classic at UBC’s War Memorial Gym was a whole different story.

With a 47-46 lead at the beginning of the third quarter, the Owls began making difficult shots look easy. They started to take over in both offensive and defensive rebounding and the Fighting Irish, despite their best efforts, could not match.

The result was an 88-80 win for the Owls.

“It was a high scoring, up and down game,” said Owls head coach Harry Parmar.

“We want to get better every day. Our goal is to play 100 per cent every possession, and we didn’t do that tonight but we played pretty good.”

As one might expect, the Owls’ surge in the second half had a lot to do with the big man, the 6’11” Braxston Brunce, who came out of nowhere to tip in an offensive rebound at the buzzer to give Kelowna the one-point lead at the half.

That gave the Owls the momentum in what was, at least for the first 20 minutes, a game of lead changes and back-and-forth action.

“I thought everyone came to play and it’s definitely an amazing way to end our week,” said Brunce, who had 26 points in the win.

“It’s a long week for us, three nights in a hotel, three days of school missed so it feels a lot better to go back with a win driving home then a loss.”

Once the Fighting Irish started to focus their defensive efforts on Brunce, Grade 10 forward Buster Truss became the story.

It was one of those special “coming out parties,” said Parmar, who was more than impressed with Truss, a middle school graduate just six months ago.

Truss led all players with 28 points. He found holes in Vancouver College’s pressure defence, utilizing the fast break when the Owls were forced to deal with the full court press.

“I just felt it tonight,” said Truss.

“I just kept on running the floor and calling for the ball and they were finding me.”

Despite the loss, the Fighting Irish made things interesting in the fourth quarter, bringing excitement back into their fans when things looked bleak.

In fact, it looked like Vancouver College might come totally unglued. Justin Sanvido was given a technical foul for putting some extra juice behind a pass back to the referee after disagreeing with an over and back call.

Fighting Irish fans disagreed with the call, as did the coaching staff. But when it looked like Vancouver College might come apart, they instead threatened to come back, cutting the Owls lead to seven points.

That was as close as they would get.

The Owls bent, but didn’t break. Despite giving up a flurry to the Fighting Irish and perhaps giving their opponents hope, the Owls buckled down and played out the clock.

“Hopefully this is the beginning. We just need to keep on rising, keep on working and hopefully make it to the top,” said Truss.