The Surrey-Holy Cross Crusaders didn't let a surprising quarterfinal opponent get in the way of their provincial AA boys basketball dream.
The Crusaders, the tournament's No. 1 seed, defeated the Victoria-St. Michael's Jaguars 61-50 at the Tournament Capital Centre on Thursday. Holy Cross moves into the semifinals, where it will face the Kelowna Christian Knights today, 2:15 p.m., at the TCC.
That Holy Cross and St. Michael's met at this tournament really wasn't a surprise. But the fact that they met so early was unusual, considering the teams spent much of the season battling for the top two spots in the province's AA ranking.
"It was a bit of a surprise when we got the draw and saw a team that was ranked No. 1 or 2 all season ranked where they were," said Holy Cross head coach Matthew LeChasseur. "But we were looking forward to the challenge.
"After getting through this one, I think we're stronger for it."
While Holy Cross won the Fraser Valley, St. Michael's struggled in its zone playdown, and came into the tournament through Vancouver Island's fourth berth, behind Mill Bay-Brentwood College, the Nanaimo-Wellington Wildcats and the Victoria-Lambrick Park Lions.
Friday's game was a grind, with the Crusaders looking to capitalize on its size advantage, and the Jaguars trying to use the long ball - neither team had much success through three quarters.
By the end of the third quarter, Holy Cross had opened a bit of a lead, and it started to pour it on late.
"We just wear teams down," LeChasseur said. "That's what we do best. We're well-conditioned."
Taylor Browne led Holy Cross with 22 points, and Henry Maduabueke scored 16. Georgios Ikonomou had 19 points to lead the Jaguars, who got 17 from Mark Yorath and 11 from Dawit Workie.
St. Michael's is to play the West Vancouver-Collingwood Cavaliers in a consolation game today, 12:30 p.m., at the TCC.
Also scoring nine points for the Crusaders on Thursday was Grade 12 forward Aaron Madaisky.
Madaisky is the brother of former Kamloops Blazers defenceman Austin Madaisky, who now is with the AHL's Springfield Falcons.
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Aaron Madaisky, who stands 6-foot-7, is a dead ringer for Austin, with a little longer hair.
The Sa-Hali Sabres boys lost their second straight game Thursday, 65-55 to the Prince George-Duchess Park Condors.
Sa-Hali, which will finish between 13th and 16th, is scheduled to play the Delta-Delview Raiders today, 12:30 p.m., at Sa-Hali secondary.
Despite a broken finger on his left hand, Noah Marchand had 21 points to lead the Sabres on Thursday, and Russell Dolson also scored eight.
Nathaniel Pawluk and Luke Holmes each scored 21 points for the Condors.
For the first time since 2001, the Vancouver-York House Tigers won't be in a provincial girls basketball final.
The Tigers lost 51-40 to the Vernon Panthers in a Thursday quarterfinal.
York House had been in 11 straight provincial finals, including in 2012, when it lost the AAA final to the South Kamloops Titans. Before that, the Tigers were in 10 straight AA finals, winning seven.
Holy Cross is looking to become the first school since 1990 to win both the girls and boys AA championships in the same year.
The Crusaders girls and boys are both seeded No. 1 at the tournament. And both teams have worked their way into the semifinal round, with the Holy Cross girls winning a quarterfinal 72-37 over the Prince George-Duchess Park Condors on Thursday.
The last school to win both AA championships in the same year was Victoria's Lambrick Park in 1990. The tournament was held in two different locations at the time - the Lions boys won in Kelowna, while the Pride girls were winners in Surrey (coincidentally, the 1990 girls championship was held at Holy Cross).
Holy Cross has only one provincial AA title - its girls won in Kamloops in 2001. The Crusaders boys have made one final, losing 77-73 in overtime to the Vanderhoof-Nechako Valley Vikings in Langley in 1996.
The award for best - or perhaps, only - mascot at this year's tournament goes to the Vernon-Kalamalka Lakers.
The Lakers have a lake monster mascot in their corner. While no one could pinpoint what it actually was, it appears to be a yellow crocodile.
If it is, indeed, a lake monster, it certainly isn't as well known as Kelowna's Ogopogo Monster.
No word on when the BCHL's Vernon Vipers plan to incorporate Kalamalka's monster into their logo.
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