Cowichan T-Birds finish second at Welcome Back Tournament

Just a handful of points separated the Cowichan Thunderbirds from taking top prize in their own Welcome Back Tournament last weekend.

"I think it was pretty good for our first tournament of the year," head coach Sandeep Heer said. "We had a pretty good showing."

The T-Birds lost to Oak Bay 82-76 in the final, mounting a massive comeback to get close to tying the game.

"We got off to a bit of a slow start," said Heer, whose team trailed 32-16 after the first quarter, but came back to lose by just six. "If we had another quarter, we probably would have beaten them. I was happy with the way we battled back and kept it a game."

Cowichan opened the tournament with a 103-63 win over Ladysmith, in which brothers Josh and Noah Charles each put up 17 points. They advanced to crush Wellington 77-33 behind 28 points by Josh Charles, 12 by Kain Melchior and 11 by Nirmal Hayer. In the semifinal, Josh Charles scored 33 points in an 82-65 victory over Claremont.

Heer was impressed with his team’s play in a tough field.

"There were some good teams there," he said. "The first few games, I wasn’t sure how we would do, but the guys played really well. We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys."

The T-Birds area away to Langley this weekend for the annual Walnut Grove tournament, where they will play a four-team round robin with the host team, Semiahmoo and St. George’s.

"We hope to be better than we were last weekend," Heer said. "We will go hard and try to improve. We hope to win all three."

Cowichan’s junior team played two games last Saturday, beating Lambrick Park 58-30 and G.P. Vanier 41-32.