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Nanaimo Christian School boys win Island championship on home court

Trail Blazers advance to senior A provincials in Langley in March
Nanaimo Christian School Trail Blazers player Calvin Vanderkooi scores a lay-up during the senior A boys’ Vancouver Island championship game against the Brookes Westshore Gryphons on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the NCS gym. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Senior A boys’ basketball playoffs went through Nanaimo Christian School, and the home team took advantage, winning an Island championship and advancing to provincials.

The Trail Blazers boys won the Vancouver Island banner on Saturday, Feb. 25, defeating the Brookes Westshore Gryphons by a score of 81-68 in the final.

“It was a good, fast-paced game,” said William Johnson, Trail Blazers guard. “Brookes came out pretty strong, but we played our game … a good team game.”

NCS started the tourney with an 82-19 win against Queen Margaret’s, and followed up with a 78-48 win against Duncan Christian. The Trail Blazers hadn’t faced Brookes since last season, but knew the opposition was highly regarded.

“We knew what we needed to do. We knew Brookes would come and push us hard,” said coach Ben Sijpheer. “Our goal was just to control the pace of the game and I think we did that well.”

Calvin Vanderkooi led the Trail Blazers with 22 points, Jackson Tonsi and Johnson each scored 16 and Owen Phillips added 15. Vanderkooi was selected tournament MVP and Johnson and Tonsi were chosen first-team all-stars.

Provincials will be held March 8-11 at the Langley Events Centre. Several NCS players have experience at that tourney and know they have things to work on to be prepared, but will stick to Trail Blazers basketball.

“I think we just need to keep doing what we’re doing. We just need to keep up a fast pace,” said Vanderkooi.

Nanaimo Christian School’s senior A girls’ basketball team is also participating in provincials – they’re hosting the big tournament from March 1-4.

READ ALSO: Dover Bay senior boys win Island hoops championship

In other basketball news, the Dover Bay Dolphins senior AAA boys won the Island championship, defeating the Alberni District Armada by an 84-45 score on Saturday in Greater Victoria. Luke Linder was MVP, Frank Linder, Oyama Crouch and Matthew Cote were first-team all-stars, and Cote was chosen the tournament’s top defensive player. Dover is off to provincials in Langley from March 8-11.

Also advancing to provincials were the Wellington Wildcats, who placed third at senior AAA boys’ Islands by defeating Carihi in the bronze-medal game. Grayson Ritzand, Kevin Taylor and Jason Jung were chosen second-team all-stars.

At the senior AA boys’ Island championships, also in Victoria, the John Barsby Bulldogs finished as runners-up, falling 58-51 to Brentwood College in Saturday’s final. Jonny Durkan and Ches Rednour-Bruckman were selected as first-team all-stars. Barsby gets to go to provincials March 8-11 in Langley.

The NDSS Islanders senior AAAA boys finished fifth at Islands and have been eliminated from the playoffs. Boyd Anderson was chosen a second-team all-star.

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