Term 2 Athletics
Though the squash program runs virtually year-round, many key competitions take place just before Christmas or early in the new year. First up was the Shawnigan Junior Open, with Jay Herring, Alex Brown and Stuart Kerr each winning their respective age groups while Ryan Chow and John Duffey also reached the podium.
Herring continued his fine play at the BC Junior Open, dropping the 1st, 3rd and 4th seeds en route to another title. Brown, Christian Yuen and Oliver Kerr also played very strongly.
Oliver Kerr then continued his fine form by taking the gold medal at the Jericho Jesters event, with Herring and the Quon duo of Sofia and Lucas finishing second in their divisions. Again, Brown, Yuen and Alden Weymar showed great consistency.
Finally, the team, with Yuen and Brown to the fore, was able to co-host the prestigious Pacific Northwest Jesters event. Then, in the ISAs, the team’s depth allowed SMUS to finish 1st and 2nd in the Junior Boys competition, with the Seniors, for the first time in seven years, also taking the title.
To round out the term, SMUS made a strong showing at the provincial Open, with Yuen, Oliver Kerr and Brown all placing in the top three of their categories.
Alas, a successful season was then cut short, with the Junior Nationals event a casualty of the COVID-19 situation. Nonetheless, with many of the top players returning, the squash outlook at SMUS for 2020-21 is bright.
Senior Boys Basketball began exhibition play in mid-December, making an inauspicious start at both the Tsumura Invitational and G.W. Graham tournament. Indeed, for a variety of reasons, it took the team some time to establish a sound footing, with a move to AAA level also to be negotiated.
Eventually, things began to turn for the better; combinations began to click, with a shift to zone defence also a positive factor. A 6-1 City league record was good enough for a second-place finish, with the team then hitting a good run of form in capturing the South Island tournament with wins over Stelly’s, Edward Milne and Reynolds.
SMUS then tacked on three more consecutive victories, producing its best hoops of the season at the Island AAA tournament. Behind the dominant play of MVP Karter Fry, and with All-Stars Will Kinahan and Ethan Brownsey prominent, the Blue Jags took out Carihi (70-52) and Mark Isfeld (73-50) before accounting for a talented John Barsby outfit 65-55 in the final. Ben Beattie and Kyle Ferguson each made multiple important contributions, with Eddie Kim and Allistair Catto also playing valuable support roles.
Entering the BCs as the 8th seed, SMUS took on Pitt Meadows in the opening round. Unfortunately, by the end of the first quarter the opposition had a double-digit lead, and while the Blue Jags clawed back on several occasions within two points, in the end the Marauders prevailed 58-51. On the consolation side of the provincial draw for the first time in a decade, the Blue Jags notched one more win in their final three games en route to a 12th place finish.
Fry is to be congratulated on completing his senior year by signing with the University of Lethbridge. Also, the SMUS outlook for 2020-21 is bright, with multiple key players set to return.
On the Girls side, there was certainly cause for optimism, even if the Senior Girls were unsuccessful in their bid to qualify for the BCs. A very young and untested group nonetheless proved to be very resilient, scrambling through local league and playoff games to secure a spot in the Islands.
However, SMUS, unable to handle the dominant inside game of Ballenas, fell 80-63 in the quarterfinal, meaning that a treacherous back door route would be required in the double knockout format. The team just held on to a big lead in defeating Esquimalt but were then eliminated by a deeper and more experienced GP Vanier side.
Kudos must go to Claudia Murr. The backcourt sniper, despite being regularly double and triple teamed, was the Blue Jags’ leading scorer in every game, with one 47-point effort particularly notable. Also making a key contribution was Yukina Hashimoto, who played with great resolve throughout.
Still, it was the Junior Girls who stole the show, as the first of several SMUS teams with a legitimate chance to claim a provincial banner. Cementing very early a deserved reputation as one of the elite teams in the province, the Blue Jags roared through the season on their way to a 28-2 overall record.
An all Grade 9 starting five of Sophie Olcen, Brianne McLeish, Lauren Rust, Jojo Tupas-Singh and Makena Anderson proved to be particularly skilled and athletic. SMUS entered the BCs having won four Invitational events in addition to the Islands, with a sole loss to Kelowna in the semifinal of the Riverside tournament.
Seeded 3rd at provincials, the Blue Jags opened up with wins versus Sahali and Heritage Woods. These set the stage for a much-anticipated rematch against Kelowna, with aggressive SMUS defence the difference in a satisfying 44-35 triumph.
The final, versus top seed Dr. Knox, was a thriller from start to finish. Down six at halftime, SMUS fought back to gain a four-point lead with a few minutes to play. One more hoop, from any of several possessions down the stretch, likely would have sealed the game, but it was not to be. With the Blue Jags down two, an Anderson three pointer with seconds left to play just spun out. Dr Knox then hit two final free throws to secure a 52-48 victory.
Nonetheless, the silver medal finish was a very fine achievement, and set the stage for what might have become a particularly successful third term of athletics. Yet, by this time, rumours of the COVID-19 situation were front and centre in the media. Days later SMUS and all other schools in BC closed indefinitely.
Read the recaps of Term 1 and Term 3 Athletics: