The St. Thomas More Knights can be assured of moving up big-time in the next B.C. high school AA boys' basketball rankings after a huge win at the G.W. Graham tournament on Saturday.
The seventh-ranked Knights avenged last season's semi-final loss at the B.C.s and then knocked off the No. 1 team in the province, Mission Secondary, in the championship final at the Chilliwack competition.
Tournament MVP Giovanni Trasolini led the Knights in the final game, scoring 20 points as STM held off an attempted Mission comeback for a 60-53 win.
First team all-star Andrew Morris chipped in with 16 points, while Mikey Carney and Jalen Jana also contributed.
On Friday, STM put forward a solid team effort to whip last year's AA provincial champion South Okanagan, 84-66 in the tournament semifinal.
In the opener,Trasolini poured in 32 points for the Knights in a 74-62 win over honourable mention Delview in the team's first game of the tournament.
Bryan Padron, Thomas Tassone and Jana played huge minutes off the bench when STM's starters got in early foul trouble.
"After a tough finish to the tournament at Walnut Grove (last weekend), we bounced back," said STM head coach Aaron Mitchell, who praised his bench for bailing out the team after early foul trouble in the opening match against Delview. "It was the type of game that gives you pride as a coach."
STM plays No. 5-ranked Windsor Secondary on Thursday, Dec. 29 at home. Tip off is at 5 p.m.
'Dogs get it done
The Byrne Creek Bulldogs appear to be finding their bark.
The Southside school defeated No. 8 AA-ranked and last year's AAA provincial champion R.C. Palmer 89-59 in the final of the Gleneagle boys' basketball tournament on Saturday.
The win came on the heels of a 76-64 victory over honourable mention Sir Charles Tupper and 7foot post Cameron Smythe in the tournament semifinals.
"That was our biggest win of the season. They're a really good team," said Grade 11 forward David Majstorovic. "We converted on defence and gave it our all, I guess."
Senior Kennedy George was named MVP, while first-year Bulldog Jada Lado was also named to the first all-star team.
Byrne Creek opened the tourney with a 68-40 win over Pinetree.
The Bulldogs will take Christmas off before returning to action at the STM Chancellor tournament in January.
"The win is going to give us a bit of motivation coming into the STM tournament - it's a big 16-team tournament," Majstorovic added.
Tamanawis got the better of Burnaby South in the final of the sixth annual Rod Thomson Rebels boys' basketball tournament on Saturday.
In a rematch from last year's Rebel final, won by South, the No. 9-ranked Surrey school defeated honourable mention South 67-54 in the championship final.
Paced by a game-high 19 points, including six three-pointers, by first team all-star Sukhjot Bains and MVP Manjodh Dulay, Tamanawis outscored its hosts in each of the four quarters.
"They remembered last year," said Tamanawis coach Surinder Grewal. "We wanted to make sure it wasn't going to happen again."
Tamanawis improved its preseason record to 9-3, including earlier losses by seven points to No. 1 Kelowna and to St. George's in overtime.
South trailed Tamanawis for all but a few minutes of the opening quarter, but the Rebels managed to keep the deficit to single digits for the most part.
"That's what we've been doing," said South head Coach David Smith. "In the games we've played well, we're very good. In the games which we've struggled, we've been pretty one-dimensional. When we show the ball, we're good. The potential is there."
That potential was evident in the third quarter, when first team all-star post Nick Irvine potted seven of his team-high 13 points and fellow first-teamer Quentin Nguyen tallied his eight points, including a pair of three-pointers in a 19-point Rebels' quarter.
Irvine and Nguyen were also instrumental in South's 74-63 win over Claremont in the semifinal.
Irvine was the team's high scorer with 20-plus points, while Nguyen nailed four fourth-quarter treys to pace the Rebels to the win.
But overall, the set-up skills of Dulay, who chipped in with 10 points for Tamanawis, and the big-time shot of Bains and defensive MVP Rav Dhaliwal was too much for the Rebels in the final game.
"The biggest thing for us is balance," Smith added. "We got good shots, we just didn't put them down. But we'll keep working on that."
South will finish off the month of December with a game against No. 5-ranked W.J. Mouat on Dec. 30 in Abbotsford.
Thomson's son Jon, a former Burnaby South all-star, is continuing his father's good work at the youth level.
"It's great to bring the young kids up and bring them into this," said Jon following the tournament.