Cowichan’s Mackenzie Hall reaches for the ball while St. John Brebeuf’s Shania Buenaflor defends during opening round action at the junior girls provincial invitational tournament at the Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja Black Press

‘March Madness’ B.C. style tips off in Langley

Senior AA and AAA girls tourneys see majority of higher seeds advance while four of top eight junior teams out of contention

When the first games tipped off on Wednesday morning at the Langley Events Centre, 56 teams had dreams of capturing a provincial basketball banner.

And with day one now in the books, 24 teams remain in the hunt for one of three provincial titles up for grabs this week.

The BC Secondary school girls AA and AAA basketball championships, as well as the junior girls basketball provincial invitational tournament, took over the LEC on Wednesday, the first of four days of action on the hardwood.

The AAA tournament saw seven of the top eight seeds advance in the opening round to the quarter-finals.

The lone upset saw the Brookswood Bobcats — seeded 13th out of the 16 teams — knock off the Vancouver Island’s No. 1 seed, the Oak Bay Breakers by an 85-80 score.

It was one of three games decided by five points out of the eight opening round clashes.

The No. 8 Argyle Pipers edged the No. 9 Yale Lions 67-62 and the No. 7 Sullivan Heights Stars held off the No. 10 Carson Graham Eagles.

Two other games were fairly competitive with the No. 6 Riverside Rapids holding off the No. 11 Claremont Spartans 86-76 and the No. 4 Semiahmoo Totems beating the No. 12 New Westminster Hyacks 76-60.

The other three games saw the tournament’s top three seeds destroy their challengers.

No. 1 Kelowna beat No. 16 Heritage Woods 87-51, while the No. 2 Abbotsford Panthers hammered No. 15 North Peace 101-43. And the No. 3 Walnut Grove Gators handled the No. 14 Mount Baker Wild 102-51.

Thursday’s quarter-final round will see Brookswood battle Semiahmoo at noon and Kelowna tangle with Argyle at 1:45 p.m. The other side of the draw sees Abbotsford face Sullivan Heights and Walnut Grove draws Riverside. Those games are at 3:15 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. All four games are at the LEC’s Centre Court.

AA tournament

Just like the AAA tier, the AA draw also saw seven of the eight top seeds advance to the quarter-finals.

The top-ranked South Kamloops Titans made quick work of No. 16 Selkirk, winning 84-22.

They next face the No. 8 Langley Christian Lightning, who edged No. 9 Whistler 59-53.

The other quarter-final on the top half of the draw features No. 4 Okanagan Mission and No. 5 St. Thomas Aquinas.

STM beat No. 12 St. Michaels University School 67-55 while OKM topped No. 13 Smithers 62-37.

The bottom half of the draw will see No. 2 Britannia face No. 10 Vernon and No. 3 GW Graham clashes with No. 6 Duchess Park.

Britannia beat the Mark Isfeld Ice 75-31 while Vernon upset No. 7 St. Thomas More Collegiate 65-50.

Graham was an 82-42 winner over No. 14 Little Flower Academy while Duchess Park beat No. 11 Westsyde 59-32.

The quarter-finals begin at 3:30 p.m. at the LEC’s South Court.

Junior girls

Thirty-two teams are in the junior girls field meaning eight teams received a bye in the opening round. The other 16 squared off to see which eight would play those rested teams.

And when the dust had settled, four of the teams with a bye were knocked out from the championship round as the No. 2, 4, 5 and 8 seeds were upset.

The quarter-finals are now set for Thursday with No. 1 Walnut Grove facing No. 9 Kelowna, No. 13 North Surrey battling No. 12 Mount Baker, No. 7 Penticton against No. 15 Fraser Heights and No. 3 Yale versus No. 6 Burnaby South.

The championship draw will be played beginning at 11:30 a.m. and running until 5:30 p.m. at the LEC’s Fieldhouse.

For more on the tournament, including up-to-date scores, click here.

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Brookswood’s Jenna Dick against Oak Bay in opening round action at BC AAA girls championships at Langley Events Centre. John Morrow Black Press

A Kelowna Owls player battles for the ball against two members of the Heritage Woods Kodiaks during opening round action of the at the BC girls AAA championships at the Langley Events Centre. John Morrow Black Press

GW Graham’s Aliza Dueck splits the doubleteam during her team’s opening round game against Little Flower Academy at the BC girls AA championships at the Langley Events Centre. Gary Ahuja Black Press

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