March 3, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Saturday’s Gold Medal match-up between Langara and VIU delivered early in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd in Victoria, hosted by Camosun College.
The Falcons came out strong starting the contest on a 9-2 run. Langara forward Jitinder Lohcham led the charge with a pair of big three’s on the way to 13 points in the first half. The Mariners were struggling offensively until Langara’s star player and PACWEST MVP, Brody Greig picked up two charging fouls within 30 seconds. When Greig left the game, VIU went on a quick 5-0 run to build some confidence.
The 2nd began relatively slow with both teams missing some open shots. Then, 1st team all-star point guard Brandon Jones took the game over for the Mariners. Whether it was from outside, mid-range, or lay-ins, everything seemed to be falling for the Portland product. Jones amassed 29 1st half points on 12 for 19 shooting. Greig on the hand was off his game throughout finishing with only 4 points and 1 assist at the break.
The 3rd quarter had Langara starting off in a zone on defense which seemed to give VIU trouble evidenced by the Mariners’ field goal percentage dropping from 47% to 32% in the 2nd half. “We changed our defense up,” is how Falcons Head Coach adjusted to Jones’ stellar 1st half.
The Falcons were showing why they are #2 in the nation after quickly retaking the lead 46-44 and stifling the Mariners’ offense. However, VIU began to figure out the zone near the end of the Q and put a run together to tie the game up at the end of the frame, 59-59.
Both teams seemed to feel the pressure of the moment in the final quarter as only three points total were scored in the first four minutes. Langara was able to gather itself however and opened up a 70-62 lead with 3:49 remaining. There was no quit in the Mariners though, and they battled back to within one with just over a minute to go. The critical moment came with half a minute left and VIU down by three, where Jones missed a contested three-pointer which led to a fast break lay-up, plus the foul, for the Falcons. Langara held on to take the PACWEST Provincial Championship, 78-74.
Jones finished the night with 42 points for VIU while team mate, and fellow all-star Tyler Olsen struggled from the field converting only 1 of 8 of his field goal opportunities. Langara guard Elliot Mason was named player of the game finishing with 13 points on 6 for 11 shooting and chipping in with 3 rebounds. Lohcham had a team high 25 points and 3 rebounds.
“[I] haven’t felt like this before,” said Mason after the game. When asked what was going through his mind near the end he explained, “it’s almost like, in the last couple minutes, you’re not even thinking, you’re in the zone.” Mason knew the Falcons would have to key on Jones in order to pull out the win: “We knew from the beginning of the game he was the guy we needed to stop.”
“Pretty fired up,” is how Eberhardt felt post-game: “we won a great game.” Like Mason, Eberhardt reiterated the importance of stopping Jones in his team’s gameplan, “well, you know, we had to stop Jones… VIU is so good defensively.”
MEN: Langara College Falcons (#1) vs. Vancouver Island University Mariners (#2)
Men’s Scores By Quarters
Quarter 1: LC 20-12 VIU
Quarter 2: VIU 41-37 LC
Quarter 3: VIU 59-59 TIE
Quarter 4: LC 78-74 VIU (FINAL SCORE)
Next up for both teams is Nationals where Langara, as the 2nd ranked team in the country, feel they have a real chance at winning. “Our goal from the start of the year is to win Nationals,” said Eberhardt. The tournament kicks off March 14 in Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec.
PACWEST Provincial Basketball Men’s Championship All-Stars
Langara: Jesse Jeffers, Brody Greig, Jitinder Lohcham
Quest: Cartiea French-Toney
VIU: Ryan Davidson