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By Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

Duncan, BC (ISN) – The Oak Bay Bays defeated the Belmont Bulldogs 68-60 to win the Vancouver Island “AAA” Boys Basketball Championship on Saturday.  Both teams advance to the “AAA” Provincials, along with the Mt. Doug Rams who defeated Cowichan 54-51 in the third place game.

To get to the finals, Oak Bay first had to dispatch of cross-town rivals Claremont in the semi-finals Friday night.  They did this with relative ease, erasing an 18-11 Claremont first quarter lead to move on to a 54-38 win.  Mat Hampton and Evan Woodson had 17 and 16 points respectively for the Bays in the win.

Belmont had a slightly tougher time advancing to the finals, defeating the #1 seed Mt. Doug Rams 76-66 in their semi-final Friday.  The Rams looked to be comfortably in charge of this game, leading 38-29 at the half but Belmont pulled within four, 58-54, by the end of the third quarter and then went on a 22-8 tear in the fourth to seal the victory.  Belmont’s Jordan Fenn led all scorers with 24 points, while Brock Holland chipped in 19.  Connor Morgan also had 19 for the losing side.

In the Championship final, the Bays and Bulldogs played it even, with Oak Bay being up only by one at the end of the first quarter (12-11), two at the half (29-27) and tied after three (49-49).  The Bays then went to work to craft a 19-11 fourth quarter to emerge with their record 19th Island Championship.

Leading the way for Oak Bay in the final was Kaz Kobyaski with 21 points, while Mat Hampton and Evan Woodson added 20 and 17 respectively.  Belmont’s Jordan fenn once again led the Bulldogs with 18.

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Oak Bay’s Kaz Kobyashi had 21 points to lead Oak Bay to their record 19th Island Basketball championship (ISN file photo by Christian J. Stewart).

With their losses in the semi-finals Friday, Mt.Doug and Claremont had the opportunity to battle their way back to the third place game on Saturday morning.  The Rams took full advantage of this by overcoming an early 22-15 lead by Ballenas to roll on to an 84-64 win.  Mt. Doug’s Curtis Wilson led the charge in this game with 27 points.

The Spartans were not so lucky however and dropped a 59-52 decision to Cowichan. Jerod Dorby led the Cowichan attack with 22 points, while Claremont’s Mason Loewen added 25 in a losing cause.

In the third place game and with a Provincial berth on the line, the Rams would not be denied as they overcame the home court advantage enjoyed by the Thunderbirds, as well as a 11-2 third-quarter run by Cowichan, to escape with the 54-51 victory.  Gurpinder Kang was the top scorer for the Rams with 21, while Elliot rowe added 17.  Cowichan’s Mitch Knippelberg had 15 in a losing effort.

Oak Bay, Belmont and Mt. Doug now all advance to the boy’s “AAA” Provincial Championships in Langley March 13 to 17.