Saturday, March 14, 2015

Blue Jags Capture BC AA Provincial Title

By: Mike Edwards

It was a long time coming, but the SMUS Blue Jags Provincial dream has finally become a reality. The Blue Jags defeated the Delview Raiders 66-40 in convincing fashion Saturday night to capture the BC AA Provincial Title, a win that is even more special for the seniors on the team after their heartbreaking loss in the Provincial Final one year ago.

This time around, however, the Blue Jags had their way. SMUS was nothing short of dominant in the tournament, winning each of their four games by at least a 26 point margin. The team's stretch of dominance can be extended back to their January 27 game against Claremont, the first of an 18 game win streak to close their season. It was truly a storybook ending to what has been a lengthy journey for many Blue Jags.

“I could not be more proud of this squad.” said senior guard Jake Wilmott, “This [Provincial Championship] was years in the making and we finally did it.”

The Blue Jags got off to a good start in the game, opening on a 16-4 run. But the Raiders clawed back to cut the SMUS lead to 19-13 after one quarter of play. Wilmott, Matty McColl and Callum Montgomery scored 4 points each in the first for the Jags.

The two teams played each other evenly in the second, as SMUS took a slim 29-22 lead into the break. Jason Scully led the way at recess with 9 points, McColl contributed 5 points and 7 rebounds and Wilmott chipped in with 4 points and 6 assists in the opening 20 minutes.

The Blue Jags exploded in the third quarter, pulling away from the Raiders to take a commanding 48-29 lead heading to the final frame. In the fourth, SMUS all but put the game to bed, highlighted by an emphatic Jason Scully jam off a beautiful feed from Montgomery. The dunk put an exclamation point on the Blue Jags Provincial Title win, by a final score of 66-40.

Scully finished as the high point man for the Jags, dropping in 21 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, and earned Player of the Game honours. Meanwhile, Graeme Hyde-Lay recorded 16 points and 7 rebounds, Wilmott totaled 11 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds, Montgomery chipped in with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and McColl hauled in a team high 11 boards for SMUS.

In the awards ceremony, Hyde-Lay was awarded the tournament MVP, Scully and Wilmott were named to the first all-star team and Max Pollen received Defensive Player of the Tournament honours. In addition, Blue Jags Head Coach Ian Hyde-Lay was named as the Coach of the Tournament.

“It feels great to have all our hard work pay off to win the Provincial Championship.” said G. Hyde-Lay, “I’m really honoured to be chosen for the MVP award, but most of all really proud of the boys for an amazing season.”

“I’m obviously extremely happy about how we finished up our season and our win really represents the way we’ve tried to play all year.” added Scully, “It feels great to close out the final which we weren't able to do last year.”

Despite the excellent streak of basketball throughout February and March that capped off the Blue Jags season, the 2014-15 campaign wasn’t all a smooth ride for the Blue Jags.

“Probably the best thing that could have happened to us was getting trounced by Semiahmoo on January 22.” said Coach Hyde-Lay following the game, “That game led us to really focus on our defence and rebounding. I know it’s a cliché, but defence and rebounding is what wins championships.”

“All the way through the team’s work ethic has been terrific.” continued Hyde-Lay, “It was a very sweet way to wrap up the last number of years with this core of players.”

For the 10 graduating Blue Jags (Hyde-Lay, Scully, Wilmott, McColl, Montgomery, Pollen, Liam Catto, Angus Catto, Alex Caton, and David Lee), they could not have asked for a better ending to their season and their high school basketball careers. Now, with the basketball and soccer Provincial Championships already in the bank, the attention turns to rugby as SMUS looks to complete the rare triple of three Provincial Championships in one year.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Blue Jags Power into Provincial Final with win over Cavaliers

                    Photo by Mike Edwards

By: Mike Edwards

Graeme Hyde-Lay poured in a game high 25 points including 6 giant triphectas to power the SMUS Blue Jags past the Collingwood Cavaliers 67-34 and into the highly anticipated BC AA Provincial Final. The Blue Jags and Cavaliers were separated by a slim margin for the majority of the game until the third quarter when Hyde-Lay led a Blue Jags surge that saw them pull away.
Both teams got off to understandably slow starts out the gate, but SMUS settled in midway through the quarter and took a 12-4 lead after a low scoring opening period. Hyde-Lay led the way with 6 points in the first frame.
The two teams played each other evenly in the second quarter, as SMUS held a 28-23 lead at half time. Hyde-Lay continued to lead the way with 11 points and 3 rebounds at the break, Jason Scully added 10 points and 4 rebounds and Matty McColl corralled 6 boards for the Jags.
The Blue Jags extended their lead to start the third backed by a number of gigantic Hyde-Lay three-balls. Heading to the final frame, SMUS was up 49-30. The Blue Jags were able to hold a comfortable advantage the rest of the way, as they closed out the 67-34 victory.
Aside from Hyde-Lay’s monster game, Scully finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds and Max Pollen chipped in with 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Meanwhile, McColl was a force on the boards all night, hauling in a team high 10 rebounds.
“Collingwood played a strong zone defence tonight so we had to take a lot of threes.” said Hyde-Lay after the game, “Fortunately I was able to get some good looks and make some shots.”
The Blue Jags will now gear up for what is the last and biggest game in all of their high school basketball careers: the BC AA Provincial Final against Delview. The game will tip off on the Arena Court of the Langley Events Centre at 3:45 PM on Saturday.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Blue Jags Top Grizzlies to Move into Provincial Semis

                    Photo by Mike Edwards

By: Mike Edwards

The SMUS Blue Jags put together a complete 40 minute effort, topping the GW Graham Grizzlies 71-45 Thursday night to advance to the AA Provincial Semi Finals. The Blue Jags rock solid defence was the story in the game, as they held a typically high scoring Grizzlies team to only 45 points.
The Blue Jags came out with good energy to start the game, jumping out to a 24-16 lead after one quarter of play. Graeme Hyde-Lay dropped in 8 points in the opening frame while Jason Scully added 4 points and 5 rebounds.
The Blue Jags continued to play with high intensity at the defensive end and were able to build on their lead in the second, taking a 40-26 lead into half time. Max Pollen was the high scorer at the break with 10 points, Jake Wilmott chipped in with 8 of his own, Matty McColl recorded 6 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks and Scully tallied 6 points and 5 rebounds despite getting into foul trouble in the first 20 minutes for the Jags.
It was more of the same in the third quarter, as the Blue Jags high pressure defence continued to be the difference. Heading to the final frame, SMUS was up 51-30. That lead proved to be enough for the Blue Jags, as they maintained a comfortable margin the rest of the way to finish off the Grizzlies by a final score of 71-45.
Scully scored a team high 15 points and 11 rebounds for the double double, while Pollen finished with 13 points and 4 assists to go along with an excellent shut-down defensive performance on GW Graham’s best player, earning him Player of the Game honours. The Blue Jags also received contributions from Hyde-Lay (12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists), Wilmott (10 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals) and McColl (8 points and 9 rebounds) on the evening.
“I was very pleased with our defensive effort tonight.” said Blue Jags Head Coach Ian Hyde-Lay on the team’s game, “GW Graham is a talented offensive team with three very good scorers, so to hold them to 45 was pleasing.”
The Blue Jags will now move on to the Semis in the AA Provincial Tournament against Collingwood at 8:45 PM at the Langley Events Centre.
“Collingwood is a very well coached and well drilled team.” added Hyde-Lay, “We'll have to do it all again tomorrow.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Blue Jags Roll Over Eagles to Advance to Provincial Quarters

                    Photo by Mike Edwards

By: Mike Edwards

The SMUS Blue Jags opened the BC AA Provincial Tournament in convincing fashion, rolling over the sixteenth seeded Mt. Elizabeth Eagles 95-28 Wednesday night to advance to the Quarter Finals.
The Blue Jags got off to a slow start at the offensive end in the first few minutes, but were able to feel their way into the game by the midway mark of the first quarter to take a 27-2 lead after one. Callum Montgomery exploded for 12 points in the opening period while Jake Wilmott recorded 4 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
With the comfortable lead, the Blue Jags were able to rest their starters and allow the bench to get into the game in the second frame. Despite an improved shooting effort from the Eagles in the quarter, SMUS still held a sizeable 46-19 lead at half. David Lee led the way off the bench with 9 second quarter points for the Jags.
The Blue Jags expanded their lead in the third, heading to the final frame with a 73-21. SMUS coasted through the fourth to close out the 95-28 victory.
Montgomery finished as the high point man with 18 points and 4 rebounds, and was also awarded Player of the Game for his efforts. Meanwhile, Lee chipped in with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals and Wilmott was just one rebound shy of a double double with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. The Blue Jags also received contributions from Jason Scully (12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals), Graeme Hyde-Lay (9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals) and Matty McColl (8 rebounds).
"The starting five executed extremely well." said Blue Jags Assistant Coach Reagan Daly after the game, "I thought that the reserve crew played hard particularly in the second half when they focused defensively."
With the win, the Blue Jags will have a meeting with GW Graham in the Quarters. The game will tip off at 5:15 PM at the Langley Events Centre.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blue Jags Top Kondors to Capture Second Consecutive Island Title

                  Photo by Mike Edwards

By: Mike Edwards

The SMUS Blue Jags put forward another dominant performance Saturday night, topping the host Kwalikum Kondors 73-36 in hostile territory to capture their second AA Vancouver Island title in as many years. Strong defence was once again the story for the Blue Jags, who took command of the game early and didn't look back.

Despite getting into foul trouble early on in the first quarter, the Blue Jags executed well at the offensive end to jump out to a 21-10 lead. Callum Montgomery led all players with 10 points in the opening period.

The Blue Jags continued to score efficiently at the offensive end in the second and were also able to keep up their strong defensive play, expanding the lead to 37-19 at half. Montgomery still led the way with 16 points at the break, meanwhile Graeme Hyde-Lay dropped in 6 points, Jason Scully chipped in with 4 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds and Jake Wilmott added 4 points and 4 boards for the Jags.

SMUS kept it coming to start the third, squashing any comeback hopes the Kondors had. From there it was smooth sailing as the Blue Jags finished off the Kondors for the 73-36 victory.

Montgomery finished as the high point man with 18 points to go along with 5 steals, while the Blue Jags also got contributions from Hyde-Lay (14 points and 5 assists), Wilmott (13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals) and Scully (9 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks). Scully was also awarded the MVP of the tournament for the second consecutive year, while Hyde-Lay and Wilmott were named to the First All-Star team.

"I thought in all three games we defended and rebounded with great energy and that was reflected in the low point totals we conceded." said Blue Jags Head Coach Ian Hyde-Lay on the team's strong tournament, "You have to be able to guard and rebound to be successful in the playoffs."

"Our hats go off to Kwalikum." continued Hyde-Lay, "The reality is it would have been hard for them to maintain the same emotional level they had last night in their big win [over Lambrick Park], but it is a great feat for them to have qualified for Provincials."

"The BCs will be a great challenge for us but we are playing our best basketball at the right time." added Hyde-Lay, "We just have to take it one game at a time."

The Blue Jags now have four games remaining on their schedule, the first of which will be in the round of 16 at the Provincial Tournament in Langley.