Vancouver College, Kelowna set to clash in boys Telus final on Saturday
Friday, December 9, 2011 – Submitted by Howard Tsumura, The Province
Kelowna’s John Katerburg (left) battles Saints’ Saahil Siddoo Friday during Telus semifinals at Churchill. (Ric Ernst, PNG)
The preseason No. 1 Kelowna Owls and No. 2 Vancouver College Fighting Irish will clash Saturday in the 2011 Telus Basketball Classic championship final at UBC’s War Memorial Gym.
You’ve got to be there to see it live, but if you can’t, it will also be broadcast on-line at Sports Canada TV with play-by-play broadcaster Wilson Wong and analyst Howard Tsumura.
Here’s a look at Friday’s two semifinals:
VANCOUVER COLLEGE 70 PITT MEADOWS 56
VANCOUVER — For most of the opening half of its Telus Basketball Classic semifinal, there wasn’t much to choose between the Vancouver College Fighting Irish and the Pitt Meadows Marauders.
Then the Irish dug deep on defence, turned turnovers into fast breaks, and quite suddenly they had closed the half on a 19-0 run en route to a 70-56 victory and a spot in Saturday’s final against the Kelowna Owls.
The win was highlighted by a blistering 46-point performance by Irish guard Isaiah Solomon, who in the second quarter outscored the entire Pitt Meadows team 18-9. Solomon came back to add 17 more points in the fourth quarter.
“I did what I had to do and if that is what was goign to help my team, then it’s what I wanted to do,” said Solomon who hit six treys on the night.
Up the point of Vancouver College’s 19-0 run, the game was offering no hints that its flow would change so quickly.
In fact after a layin by Pitt’s Trevor Severinski and a jumper by teammate Matt Blackaby, the Marauders were leading 23-19 with momentum on their side.
However Solomon hit triples back to back and the night was over.
Pitt clawed back with a repsectable third quarter to pull within seven points at 50-43, but in the fourth, Solomon outscored the entire team 17-10.
“I think defence was the key to what we were able to do tonight,” continued Soloman. “The coaches tell us to go hard every day and we play every game like it’s our last.”
Blackaby led the Marauders with 22 points whole Severinksi added 14.
KELOWNA 77 ST. GEORGE’S 70
VANCOUVER — Mitch Goodwin had to live through a nightmare on Friday night. In the end, from a Kelowna Owls perspective, there was a happy ending.
Point guard Goodwin, who picked up his fourth foul with 3:35 remaining in the third quarter, barely left the floor the rest of an evening that included overtime, leading the Owls to a 77-70 Telus Basketball Classic semifinal victory over the St. George’s Saints.
Goodwin scored a game-high 30 points in the win, including 11 after picking up that fourth foul.
Of course, matters got worse for the Owls when its 7-foot senior centre Braxton Bunce fouled out of the game just a few moments later.
“These guys, they have to learn to play with fouls,” said Kelowna head coach Harry Parmar, whose team plays in its first ever Telus final on Saturday at UBC. “And games like the one we just finishing playing, this is the time to learn. But we’re coming along.”
No team led by more than five points in the opening quarter, but Kelowna’s John Katerburg sunk a free throw with three seconds left to key a 13-0 run that extended over the first three minutes of the second and pushed the Owls out to a 26-18 lead. When Goodwin nailed a trey with 3:28 left in the opening half, the Owls enjoyed their biggest lead of the game at 35-21.
St. George’s kept battling, and when Milan Mitrovic hit back-to-back threes to pull within a point at 60-59, there was no questioning which team had the momentum. Sajan Gill’s two made free throws gave Saints their first lead since 14-13 late in the first quarter.
The rest of regulation was a physical battle.
Goodwin looked to have dropped a true dagger when he ran the game clock down to 32 seconds, then buried a three for a 68-65 Kelowna lead. But then Mitrovic came right back and hit a three of his own to knot the game at 68-68 with 17.4 seconds remaining.
Saints’ guard Deklan Chung opened the overtime scoring, but St. George’s weren’t able to score the rest of the way.
Goodwin’s jumper tied it at 70-70. He then added a free throw before forward Darrion Bunce scored a layup. Cooper Simson then grabbed an offensive rebound for a putback bucket, and Darrio Bunce wrapped it up with a pair of free throws with 8.1 seconds left.
Braxston Bunce finished with 20 points while Austin Axenty added 10. Mitrovic led the Saints with 23 points while Sajan Gill had 18 and Lucas MacFayden had 12.