The battle for Vancouver Island high school boys basketball supremacy will be decided this weekend on four different courts.
And while it will be shocker if Glenlyon-Norfolk of Victoria fails to walk away with bragging rights in the A bracket, the other three divisions are very much up for grabs.
Led by Diego Maffia, the player who had the best game in BC high school basketball history earlier this year, defending AAAA BC champion Oak Bay has been ranked as high as number two in the province this season.
But they will have to fend off a hard-charging Belmont team from Langford if they want to win the Island title this weekend on their home court. Oak Bay enters the tourney as the number one Island seed, and number nine provincially. Belmont is right behind them at 10.
Oak Bay opens against Spectrum of Saanich at 2 p.m. on Thursday, while Belmont meets Cowichan at 8 p.m. The other two match-ups feature Nanaimo’s Dover Bay against Saanich’s Claremont, and Mount Douglas of Saanich versus Nanaimo.
A late-season charge pushed Nanaimo’s John Barsby past Courtenay’s Mark Isfeld and into BC.’s top 10 heading into the sectional playoffs.
It didn’t really matter as it was Courtenay’s G.P. Vanier that emerged as the Island’s top seed as Barsby sets up to host the AAA Island championships this weekend.
Ranked 10th in the province, Barsby finished fourth in the North Islands behind Vanier, Isfeld — who fell out of the provincial top 10 late after holding a spot there throughout most of the season — and Carihi of Campbell River.
Barsby opens against South Island top seed Reynolds of Saanich, Vanier plays Victoria, Isfeld matches up agains Colwood’s Royal Bay and Carihi will play Esquimalt in the tourney openers Thursday,
The top eight AA teams on the Island face off at Ladysmith Secondary School starting Thursday afternoon when Highland of Comox meets Lambrick Park of Saanich.
The other three opening-round matchups pit Mill Bay’s Brentwood College — last year’s BC champs and the South Island’s number one seed — against Timberline of Campbell River, Kwalikum versus St. Michael’s of Saanich, and the headline match of the day at 7:15 p.m., where the North Island top-seed host squad will be pitted against North Saanich’s Parkland.
The South Island comes in as the favourites, with St. Mike’s, Brentwood and Lambrick ranked 8, 9 and 10, respectively, in the province by the BC High School Basketball Association.
Victoria’s Glenlyon-Norfolk has dominated small-school basketball play for most of the season. And not just on the Island, but provincially, where they have held down the number one ranking for weeks.
With no other team on the Island being provincially ranked, the other seven teams headed to Glenlyon-Norfolk this weekend for the A Islands are all considered underdogs.
The hosts open Thursday against Maaqtusiis of Ahousaht, followed by Gold River versus Victoria’s St. Andrew’s, Nanaimo Christian versus Chemainus, and Gaglardi Academy of Comox versus Duncan Christian.
Each tourney is scheduled to wrap up Saturday evening. Follow the scores at sportvictoria.com.
The top two AAAA teams and the top three teams in the other brackets qualify for the provincials.