belmont bulldogs

Story and Photos by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

March 6, 2013 Victoria, BC (ISN) – Unranked Belmont Bulldogs AAA Sr Basketball team defeated the provincially ninth ranked Oak Bay Bays Tuesday night in Oak Bay 71-54 to steal away a ticket to the BC High School Championships held next week in Langley.

For a game that to most Oak Bay fans was probably more a formality than a threat in their own minds. The Oak Bay Gymnasium would feel electric as bleachers packed with student body, basketball adversaries, parents, and few off-duty basketball referees. The fans were about to witness the unseating of an otherwise dominant and talented Oak Bay squad.

Erik Spaven runs into Bays defense Mat Hampton in the background and #12 Jake Miller – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

Last weekend, Belmont earned the right to challenge the Island’s second place Bays by virtue of a third place finish behind a team that they did not draw in the Island finals. When asked before the game whether he felt it was fitting for his team to play a challenge match, coach Chris Franklin would comment, ” …. it’s better to have the chance to play than not to be able to play at all.” Those words may have come back to haunt them as with their defeat, Oak Bay would loose that right. It was only 3 days earlier when Oak Bay won, earning a spot to compete at the provincial level.

Bulldogs #14 Daniel Massy and Erik Spaven try to prevent Jake Miller from getting to the net – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

Belmont Bulldogs would sprint out to an early 15-4 run in the first period, catching Oak Bay flat footed on some nifty passing plays to open up the inside game of Belmont’s Erik Spaven. Oak Bay’s shooting would be uncharacteristically cold to start in comparison to the Bulldogs, who have seen their own shooting wows of late.

Oak Bay’s Matt Gray runs into Belmont’s centre Erik Spaven on his through the paint – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

Belmont’s Kane Johnston and Daniel Massy would send the Bays reeling as the pair combined for 5 three-pointers, doubling the entire Bays team output in the opening frame, and finishing the period with a 21-8 lead.

Bulldogs Daniel Massy strips from behind the ball from #12 Jake Miller of Oak Bay – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

Oak Bay, with a well coached team as you will find any where, would start to find their defensive prowess, keeping pace with the red-hot Bulldogs. The Bays went head to head with the Bulldogs through the second and third quarters,. Oak Bay guards Liam Horne and Matt Gray picked up the pace, slicing through the Bulldogs defense on the way to the hoop scoring some tough baskets.

Belmont #16 Erik Spaven looks for the blocked shot of Matt Gray of Oak Bay – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

The tide would begin to turn in Oak Bays favor when a defensive steal and a breakaway dunk by #13 Atlas St.Paul-Butler mid-way through the third period would ignite the partisan crowd, lifting his teammates, and pulling to within eight points of Belmont’s lead by the end of the period.

Oak Bay and Belmont went head to head Tuesday night in a challenge game for the right to compete at the BC Championships. Belmont defeated Oak Bay 71-54 – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

Oak Bay was relentless in their pressure on the ball, seemingly rattling the Bulldogs into costly turnovers in the fourth period. Oak Bay would pull to within four points with 8:41 remaining after going on a 7-0 point run. The Bulldogs managed to regroup defensively after a time out.

Owen Vaags of Belmont shoots the jumper over Liam Horne of Oak Bay – Photo by Erich Eichhorn  ( )

Belmont’s Daniel Massy would put an end to the Bays comeback bid when left alone twice on missed defensive assignments, penalizing Oak Bay both times to effectively end Oak Bays comeback, bringing their season to an end. Massy would shoot an incredible 18 points, all from behind the arc, while teammate Spaven would top all scorers with nineteen points in a blue collar effort. Mat Hampton and Liam Horne put up a score of fifteen points a piece for Oak Bay.

Point guard Kane Johnston gets set to shoot the jumper from the open floor – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

When asked about how his team responded to Oak Bay’s pressure Belmont’s coach Kevin Brown’s comment, ” a lead playing Oak Bay is never safe, they score points in bundles. We couldn’t use our time outs…so our captain calmed them (the team) down, Massy hit a big shot, and we closed it out I guess.”

Bulldogs Erik Spaven drives to the hoop over guard Liam Horne – Photo by Erich Eichhorn ( )

Belmont will now travel to the BC Championships with the Claremont Spartans next week. Good luck to our island teams!