Saints-Vancouver College: Game 1


St. George’s School and Vancouver College had the opener of the annual 3-game series on Wednesday night. Both teams looked to get an upper hand in the series for the final push towards the AAAA Basketball Provincials. Win the series and a spot is booked in the provincial tournament. Lose and the road becomes much tougher, with the team having to win the Lower Mainland tournament to even stand a chance of making the provincial tournament. With stakes so high for each team it made for an exciting game.

The first game was held at St. George’s School and the school was buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the series. Before the senior game; however, the junior games had to be played; starting with the grade 8’s.

The series started out with a nail-biter. The Grade 8 game was down to the wire until the last play, Saints being up 46:44. The game ended with an airball 3-pointer attempt from VC.

The Grade 9’s shredded VC as Jerric Palma (9) was on fire the entire game, finishing with 24 points, nailing 6 3’s. The score was 53:22 at the end of third quarter.

The Junior Varsity game was fast-paced, physical and tight. Number 10 from VC seemed unstoppable in the first half of the game, as he had 17 points at halftime. Samuel Sirlin (10) led Saints with 10. In the locker room, the JV players sorted their plans out and brought the margin to 4 points with 2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. With 30 seconds left on the clock, Saints were down 48:50. Yoshi Matsubara (10) ripped the ball from a VC player, took a step back and pulled the trigger from behind the arc. Dagger. The crowd goes absolutely nuts. VC couldn’t score on the final play and that was ball game. It was a great comeback win. There was only one more win to get a sweep. The main event everyone’s been waiting for.

The Dixon gym was clogged for the Varsity game. Saints fans wore red, brought massive signs of players’ faces and water jugs, which fans proceeded to slam against the wall all night. The game did not start off so well. Star player Jacob van Santen(11) missed 4 of his first shots and VC kept scoring on their offensive possessions. Saints fans were disappointed, mainly due to the fact that the score was 21:6 for Vancouver College at the end of first. However, it seemed like the players were also getting tired of hearing “Scoreboard” chants from College fans. St. George’s stepped up their game and narrowed the gap. It was 31:21 at halftime.

In the second half, it was a Justin Huang (11) show. The shifty guard faked his defender left and right and all his shots seemed to go in. Crazy and-one’s, pump fake to a mid-range jumper, crossover for a layup… you name it, because he did it all. At the end of third quarter, Saints were only down by a point. The score was 39:38. Van Santen also picked up his game and led the scoring with 15 points. It was buckets after buckets in the fourth quarter: the score was 61:59 with less than a minute remaining in the game. It was still anyone’s game. Then it happened. A 3-pointer from Vancouver College’s number 13 with 35 seconds remaining helped VC pull away from a close ball game. Justin Huang finished with 15 points and van Santen had 19.

Every Saints fan felt the pain when all VC fans ran into the court and to the players as soon as the buzzer went. And that only means one thing. For the players, it is to play harder. For the fans, cheer louder and stay positive.