T-Birds secure top spot in North Island

Inside lane is taken by Cowichan’s Cyrus Gray against Joshua Kurucz of Alberni Friday. - Andrew Leong
Inside lane is taken by Cowichan’s Cyrus Gray against Joshua Kurucz of Alberni Friday.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Cowichan Thunderbirds did the expected, landing the North No. 1 berth for the Island AAA senior boys' basketball tournament that starts Thursday at Mount Douglas.

The four teams that played for North Island seedings at Cowichan Secondary School Friday and Saturday finished in exactly the same order as the regular season.

The T-Birds, 5-0 during the regular season, kept their undefeated streak against North Island competition going through two games, opening with a 111-73 victory over Port Alberni. It's the first time in a couple of years the T-Birds have topped the 100-point plateau.

Cyrus Gray led the scoring with 30 points, Jerod Dorby had 22 and Andrew Larson added 17 along with 17 assists. Will Slang caught fire from three-point range to bump his game total to 14.

Dover Bay won the other semifinal over Vanier Friday 84-62.

Vanier then grabbed third place Saturday with a 70-53 victory against Alberni while the T-Birds prevailed over Dover Bay 70-62 in the championship game.

The final was a close game from the start. The T-Birds trailed 55-52 at halftime but turned it around with a 39-27 scoring advantage in the second half.

Dorby put 25 points on the board with 20 rebounds. Larson managed 21 points and Gray's efforts produced 11 points and 15 rebounds.

The top three advanced to the Island tournament. Alberni faced a challenge game Tuesday at Ladysmith against Spectrum, the South's No. 5 team, for the final berth.

Claremont won the South Island, with Oak Bay second, Belmont third and Mount Douglas fourth. The top two teams from the Island playoffs make it to the provincials at the Langley Events Centre.

The Island tournament's first-round games Thursday are as follows: Dover Bay vs. Belmont, 3 p.m.; Claremont vs. challenge winner, 4:45 p.m.; Cowichan vs. Mount Douglas, 6:30 p.m. and Oak Bay vs. Vanier, 8:15 p.m.

Game action for placings continues Friday and Saturday.

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