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Story and Photos By Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

January 23, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Belmont Bulldogs strayed into Oak Bay’s home court Tuesday night in what may decide this season’s first place finish for AAA Lower Vancouver Island Basketball.  Oak Bay dominated the second half, bringing them a victory with a score of 72-52  for the win.

Belmont’s Eric Spaven had reportedly scored an impressive 82 points over the last three games for his home team, but the key center did not see court action in the pivotal game Tuesday night.

The Belmont Bulldogs would have to scrap for every point against the Oak Bay Bays as Vaags (in blue ) dives on Miller for the loose ball – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

In the first period Oak Bay came out firing on all cylinders, running the ball through the paint, challenging the Bulldogs, and jumping out to an early 13-0 lead on the inside work of #4 Matt Hampton. Belmont struggled inside against the Bays defense, they were unable to find their rhythm from the perimeter.  Belmont would pull close at the end of the quarter as the Bulldogs held a 17-9 lead at the end of the opening frame.

Two of the games highscorers go at each other as Vaags drives on the defensive #4 Mat Hampton.  Hampton would lead all scorers with 17 points – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The Bulldogs continued to rely on their up-tempo style of defense in the second period, visiting the charity stripe 6 times in the 2nd period, and shooting 83% from the line.  Oak Bay had difficulty keeping Owen Vaags and Brayden Henson from finding cracks in the Bays defense, driving to the hoop relentlessly.

Bulldogs Daniel Massey shoots the outside jumper. The Bays would keep the Bulldogs to the outside most of the game – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The Bay’s Mat Hampton continued to find success on the floor, demonstrating his ability to shoot from the outside and scoring 5 points in the period including a 3-pointer for the big man. The Bays would hold off the Bulldogs at the half 34-27.

Oak Bay’s #12 Jake Miller would single handedly turn around a third quarter push by the Bulldogs,  Miller would drain 3 consecutive 3 pointers to deflate the Belmont’s hopes – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca) 

Oak Bay came out cold in the third, allowing the Bulldogs to pull within four points half way through the period on the backs of Kane Johnston (5 points) and Owen Vaags (6 points). Oak Bay quickly shut the door on Belmont, shooting from the arc, raining four three-pointers to go up by twelve at the end of the third.  In an impressive shooting display, #12 Jake Miller would drain three of those four long balls for the Bays.

#1 Owen Vaags gets a free look at the basket, getting past Oak Bay guard#7  Liam Horne. – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Belmont continued to show a gritty defensive performance in the fourth, giving the Oak Bay guards fits with a three quarter court press, but were unable to convert those turnovers into points. Oak Bay continued to shoot well from the field with the help of Hampton and Miller to open up a 20 point lead and put another check mark in the win column with an impressive final 72-52 win.

With the win Tuesday night, Oak Bay retains first place in the Lower Island AAA High school standings.

Top Scorers: Belmont – Johnston (14) Vaags (14)

Oak Bay – Hampton (17)