The 13th Annual Rod Thomson Memorial Tournament hosted by Burnaby South has seen 10 Junior Boys Teams trying to earn their way to the final game Friday night. Featuring four provincially ranked teams, competition was fierce with all teams trying to impact how they stand in the new rankings come 2018.
3rd/5th Place - #3 Centennial Centaurs vs A.R. MacNeill Ravens
The 3rd/5th Place was a back and forth affair for the entire game. For the Centaurs #22 Dominic Parolin led the way through the first quarter wiith eight points on their way to a 10-10 tie after the first. The Centaurs knocked down a pair of triples in the second, but it was their defence that was the difference, holding the Ravens to just four points. Entering the locker room Centennial held a 24-14 lead.
MacNeill came out of the locker room charged up and would claw their way back into the game. Hot shooting by the Ravens netted them four “3’s” in the quarter. Grade 9 Guard #3 Difu Wang led the charge with eight points in the quarter. Entering the fourth quarter Centennials lead had been cut to one. 37-36 for the Centaurs
With five minutes to play in the game the Ravens had gained the lead 44-43. A driving layup by #7 Omar Abumallouh of the Ravens would put the underdogs up three forcing the Centaurs to call a timeout. The Centaurs executed a nice play opening up #22 Dominic Parolin for an easy layup to bring the Centaurs back within one point. On the next play, the big man #22 Dominic Parolin showed some guard skills with a euro-step finish to put the Centaurs back up one. #9 Jackson Thackwray, another grade 9 guard, of the Ravens would be fouled on the ensuing possession and calmly knocked two free throws to go back up by one. He would continue his clutch play with an “and 1” that put the Ravens up six with one minute to play. The Centaurs went back to #22 Dominic Parolin, who with a spin move finished through three defenders to go down four. The Centaurs opted to foul but fouled #9 Jackson Thackwray again who knocked down another pair to preserve a six point lead. #22 Dominic Parolin knocked down a “3” to make it a one possession game leaving the Ravens up three with 20.5 seconds left to play. #9 Jackson Thackwray was fouled again and knocked down his two free throws again. The Ravens would complete their upset bid with a 58-52 victory.
#1 Burnaby South Rebels vs #5 Vancouver College Irish
The Junior Boys Final featured the home team and #1 Burnaby South Rebels vs the #5 Vancouver College Irish. The stands were packed with people with various drums, signs, and black and yellow clothes all here to support the home team.
Despite the homecourt advantage for the Rebels, it was the Irish who jumped out to a 12-2 lead early. Turnovers plagued the Rebels and #3 Josh Lum Tong of the Irish jumped passing lanes to get two steals for wide open layups forcing the home team Rebels to call both their timeouts of the half one minute apart in the first quarter. After a long drought, the Rebels got back on the board with a deep “3” from #3 Justin Sungha. After one quarter the Irish lead 18-5.
In the second, #10 Sahil Sandhu of Vancouver College continued attacking the rim using his size to knock down a pair of floaters over the Burnaby South defense. #12 Matthew Pineda of the Rebels missed a shot at the shot clock buzzer but followed it for a putback that got the crowd cheering - they were just waiting for anything to go their way. With 3:30 left Vancouver College still lead 24-9. #12 Matthew Pineda of the Rebels got another layup and that’s all Burnaby South Team needed to ignite the defense. The Rebels caught the Irish sleeping on the next inbound play that netted them an easy layup just before the half. Score at the break 27-13 for the Irish. The Rebels came out of the locker motivated and fought back to bring the lead down to just nine entering the fourth quarter, 37-28 for the Irish.
#21 Luc Therrien of the Irish opened the scoring in the 4th with an easy bucket. The Irish defence produced another stop which sprung #10 Sahil Sandhu out in transition again for an uncontested layup. The Rebels answered this Irish mini-run with and “and 1” from #12 Matthew Pineda. The speedy guards of Burnaby South were finally able to start penetrating the Irish defence which allowed for easy dump offs. First it was #10 J. Pineda, later it was #12 Matthew Pineda driving and dumping to #23 for wide open layups to beat the helpside defence. Vancouver College answered by pounding the ball inside with 6’9 forward #21 Luc Therrien who scored a number of buckets over the shorter Rebel defenders. A controversial over and back call against Vancouver College would put the ball in the hands of Burnaby South who would cut the lead to eight after a “3” from #3 Justin Sungha. #1 Mico Ortinero South would drive and dump off to #23 one more time for an easy two. #10 Sahil Sandhu hit a tough pull up jumper to put the Irish up 10 points with a minute and a half left, 51-41.
The Rebels kept pressing and after a pair of freethrows from #3 Justin Sungha, they forced a turnover which led to a layup cut the lead down to just six. The game was down to fouling and the Rebels sent #10 Sahil Sandhu to the line where he calmly knocked down his pair. On the next possession Vancouver College made a mental mistake and fouled a Rebel player as he scored his layup. The freethrow was missed, but Burnaby South grabbed the offensive board but just couldn’t capitalize. #19 South hit a late “3” that put the game at just five points, but it was #3 Josh Lum Tong of Vancouver College with ice in his veins who hit four free throws in the closing seconds to secure the Irish Victory 59-52.
Congratulations to the Vancouver Irish for winning the Junior Division of the Rod Thomson Memorial Tournament.