By Devon Gall
Four Saanich high school basketball teams hit the hardwood this week in the competitive Gary Taylor Classic. It’s the debut for weekend for Oak Bay High’s brand new gymnasium.
Joining the host Oak Bay Bays are St. Michaels, Lambrick, Mt. Douglas and Claremont on the junior side, along with Vancouver College, Belmont and Cowichan, while the senior side will features SMUS and Lambrick Park against squads from Belmont, MEI, Holy Cross, Cowichan and Vancouver College.
The tourney opened with round-robin play on Thursday (after The News went to press), moving the 16-team tournament into semifinals Friday and finals Saturday. Junior semifinals begin at 5:45 and 7:30 p.m. today (Friday, Dec. 19) on the Horwood Court, with the championship Saturday at 4:15 p.m. on the Taylor Court. On the senior side, the top four teams square off on the Taylor Court at 5:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, with the winners of both games meeting in the championship game Saturday at 6 p.m. The battle for third spot in both divisions tips off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
One final highschool basketball game remains in league play before Christmas break, with the Spectrum Thunder senior boys visiting the Belmont Bulldogs Monday, Dec. 22 at noon.
Looking ahead to spring, Lambrick Park’s Diamond for Excellence basebal academy welcomes a two-day Anaheim Angels Prospect Camp Dec. 21 and 22. Instructing is Carson Vitale, who currently manages the Angels’ Dominican team.
The camp is open to softball and baseball players from Grade 8 through college. Space is limited in the two-day camp, $50 for academy students and $80 for non-Academy students. To register, email Rocky Vitale at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Chewpoy at email@example.com.
While many local hockey teams have hung up their skates for the Christmas break, exhibition play this weekend will provide an interesting peek at the midget Tier 2 Island playoffs coming up in early February.
The Saanich Braves AA squad visits the Victoria Ice Hawks midget A boys Saturday, Dec. 20 at Archie Browning Arena, with the puck dropping at 5:15 p.m. On Sunday, the Braves welcome Div. 2 leaders Cowichan Valley to Pearkes Rec Centre for a 3 p.m. start.
Both the Victoria and Cowichan squads have been competing fiercely in Div. 2 of the three-division midget-rep league, which includes teams from throughout the Island. For playoffs, and the chance to represent the Island at the provincial championships, teams are re-allocated according to their association’s size. Saanich, which is competing in Div. 1 for league play, drops to Tier 2 for playoffs, with Victoria, Cowichan and several other South Island contenders.
Also at Pearkes Rec Centre, the annual Saanich Minor Hockey Association’s coaches game kicks off Saturday Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $2, including the chance to win a variety of door prizes and raffles. Proceeds go to the annual No. 1 Brave Award, presented each spring to a player who has faced adversity, challenge, illness or injury.
Still in the market for this year’s Christmas tree? Show your love for the University of Victoria Vikes Cross Country and Track team, whose annual tree sale continues 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Dec. 22 at Centennial Stadium.
Merry Christmas, Saanich sports fans!
– Devon Gall is an avid sports fan and athlete attending Grade 12 at Mount Douglas secondary. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org