Clayton Reymerink looks to make a pass in the offensive zone during the Cowichan Thunderbirds’ game against NDSS last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Clayton Reymerink looks to make a pass in the offensive zone during the Cowichan Thunderbirds’ game against NDSS last Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan T-Birds show they can hang with the best

First games demonstrate senior boys basketball team will contend

The Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds started the senior boys basketball season last weekend by going 1-2 at their own invitational event.

The T-Birds opened up with an 81-41 loss to a strong Belmont Bulldogs team on Friday evening.

“They are an experienced team that is well coached,” Cowichan head coach Casey Parsons said. “Given that it was our first official game of the season, and that we are a young team, losing eight players from last year’s team, it wasn’t a total surprise that we experienced some early growing pains.”

Cowichan rebounded from that loss to beat the Reynolds Roadrunners 68-43 the next morning.

“It was nice to pick up our first win of the season, especially after getting blown out the night before against Belmont,” Parsons said. “It was a solid team effort; all 13 players got floor time, and worked very hard on the defensive end, which created many fast-break opportunities for us.”

The T-Birds’ last game was against Nanaimo District Secondary, who had defeated the Belmont Bulldogs by 22 points in their previous game. Cowichan played an excellent first half and led 46-40 at halftime before eventually losing 91-80.

Joaquin Andrade shot eight three-pointers on his way to a game-high 37 points, and Clayton Bergstrom added 17.

“We let NDSS’s backcourt go on a run early in the third quarter, and though we made a gutsy comeback in the fourth to cut it to four points, we couldn’t quite make back what we gave up. That game was encouraging however, because it showed us that when we play our way, and get after it, we can hang with some of the top teams on the Island.”

The T-Birds host their Welcome Back Tournament this weekend. They opened against Spectrum on Thursday afternoon. A win on Thursday would send them to a 5:15 p.m. game at Cow High on Friday, while a loss would mean a game at Quamichan at 3:45 p.m. on Friday. The championship game is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday at Cow High.