Towering Junior T-Birds face ultimate challenge

Josh Charles, left, with brothers Jordan and Noah, who are all provincial basketball team members. - Don Bodger/file
Josh Charles, left, with brothers Jordan and Noah, who are all provincial basketball team members.
— image credit: Don Bodger/file

Cowichan Junior Thunderbirds figured they’d might as well find out now where they stand with the best junior boys’ basketball teams in the province.

The ninth-ranked Junior T-Birds went to the prestigious Emerald tournament at Vancouver College where four members of B.C.’s top five were among the participants.

“It was a huge tournament, for sure,’’ said Cowichan co-coach Graham Scargall.

The players responded to the challenge, he felt, although there’s always more work to be done.

“I thought the guys did a good job,’’ said  Scargall.

Cowichan faced Burnaby South that went into the tournament ranked No. 1 in B.C. in its first game and lost 46-32.

“We did a good job defensively from keeping them from scoring,’’ said Scargall. “We just had a little trouble scoring ourselves.’’

Josh Charles led the offense for Cowichan with 13 points while Jordy Frost added nine.

Cowichan played Oak Bay, one of the three teams in the tournament not ranked in the top 10, in its second game Saturday morning and won 46-37.

Charles was the top scorer again with 17 points. Jeevan Sall added six off the bench and Tyler Hudson was a rebounding kingpin while notching five points.

“Just as a team, our defence is pretty stingy,’’ said Scargall. “We just need to work on opening up the offense a bit.’’

Terry Fox was the opponent for the T-Birds’ final game and it went in the books as another victory, 56-46, behind the 27-point scoring explosion of Charles.

“He’s pretty hard to stop when he gets rolling,’’ said Scargall.

Travis McDonald (11) and Frost (10) also reached double figures, as the three players accounted for all but eight of Cowichan’s points.

Scargall is looking for continued improvement from the team, especially because it has a built-in asset.

“Our team is a very big, physical team,’’ he said.

“We’re not currently playing our best ball against the top teams. One or two more hoops and they’re a lot closer games.’’

Scargall expects working on how to run the offense will pay dividends by the time the season reaches the home stretch.

Another big test awaits the junior T-Birds this week at the North Shore Invitational. The 16-team tournament features plenty of other Lower Mainland heavyweights like Pitt Meadows, Kitsilano, St. Thomas More and Handsworth.

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