The visiting Ballard Beavers out of the Seattle Metro League were the class of the inaugural UVic Vikes Alumni invitational basketball tourney played in the CARSA gym Dec. 28 to 30.
The Beavers went undefeated in the tourney, beating Edmonton’s Harry Ainlay Titans 87-59 in the final. The host Saint Michaels University Blue Jags finished in sixth place following a 74-47 loss in their final match against the Kingston Buccaneers of Kitsap, Wash.
The tournament was co-orchestrated by Saint Michaels’ coach Ian Hyde-Lay and the Vikes Alumni, and fills the void left by the former Saint Michaels invitational boys event.
“It uses the window between Christmas and New Year’s holiday, a time when we think we can get some big teams out of the U.S. and from B.C. and Alberta,” said Blue Jags coach Reagan Daly. “It’s the only time when teams can travel here, so we can put on a high-level tourney that top B.C. schools will also get excited about.”
Locally, the Lambrick Park Lions entered the tourney as the eighth-ranked AA team in B.C., while the Blue Jags are the top AA team. The Lions went winless, falling to Vashon Island 71-64 in the final.
The AAAA Oak Bay Bays earned top honours among the locals with their upset over the No. 1-ranked AAAA Walnut Grove Gators, a 79-78 overtime win in the third place game.
Lambrick Park’s Calvin Somers and St. Michaels’ Ephraim Hsu were among the team award winners for the tournament
Vikes Alumni president Phil Ohl was delighted with the tournament, noting “very positive feedback” from the eight participating teams.
“It was also wonderful to see over 30 former Vikes in attendance, all of whom volunteered in the running of the event,” said Ohl.
Senior boys basketball continues on Tuesday, Jan. 10, with Parkland at Claremont, Lambrick Park at Belmont and Oak Bay at Saint Michaels. All games are at 7:30 p.m.
In senior girls basketball on Jan. 10, Stelly’s hosts Mount Douglas at 5:45 p.m., and Claremont hosts a mini tournament with Belmont, Spectrum and Oak Bay at 4 p.m.