The Cowichan Secondary School Thunderbirds wasted no time getting a jump on the new year with wins in backto-back junior boys basketball games at Belmont Secondary on Jan. 2. The T-Birds started the year with a 52-40 win over the Belmont Bulldogs, then got by the Lambrick Park Lions 44-41.
Eston Unrau led the team in scoring in both games, putting up 27 against Belmont and another 15 against Lambrick. Zach Waddington added 15 against Belmont and nine against Lambrick, and Matthew Miller chipped in with seven against the Lions.
Just before Christmas, the junior T-Birds placed fourth in the Oak Bay Gary Taylor Classic tournament.
Cowichan opened the tournament with a 48-41 win over Claremont in the first round. Unrau’s 21 points led the T-Birds, while Player of the Game Waddington collected 14 points in an all-around effort and Naoki Hasegawa added 11.
The team’s first loss came against host Oak Bay in the semifinal, as the Bays won 68-43.
"It was an eight-point game in the third quarter," Cowichan coach Lucky Walia said. "But they outplayed us the rest of the half."
Unrau’s 29 points were again the most by a T-Bird, while Waddington had seven in another solid outing.
Another 29-point effort from Unrau in the third-place matchup with St. Michael’s was enough to earn him a spot on the tournament all-star team, but not quite enough for a victory as the T-Birds lost a close one 59-54. Waddington was again the No. 2 scorer with 12 points, while Matt Miller played tough defence, made some nice passes, and finished with seven points.
The junior T-Birds are off to the Vancouver College Emerald tournament this weekend, and will play host to Brentwood College School next Tuesday as part of a triple-header at the school. The Grade 9s tip off at 4 p.m., followed by the juniors at 5:30 p.m. and the seniors at 7 p.m.