By Lachlan Ross, Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
December 20, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Another day at Oak Bay High’s Gary Taylor Classic saw some stellar basketball and an absolutely insane finish to the night with MEI and Oak Bay advancing to Saturday’s 6:00 pm final.
First up Cowichan played St. Michaels University School (SMUS). Cowichan took advantage as SMUS came out flat and captured a 14-2 lead. SMUS press didn’t affect the boys from Duncan, relying on strong ball movement and poise. Josh Charles then disabled St. Michaels’ zone, heading baseline for a two-handed facial on a helpless defender. But after a vocal Ian Hyde-Lay timeout, SMUS regathered. Led by coach’s son, Graeme Hyde-Lay, they brought it back to 22-a-piece at half.
SMUS Jason Scully looks for a way to the hoop past the guard of Cowichan’s Tyler Hudson during Friday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Josh Charles – who topped his team with 22 points – came out hard in the third quarter with a three-ball and two good takes to the hoops – the second with a Baryshnikov-esque spin move leaving defenders behind. SMUS answered with great ball movement and back-to-back threes. Cowichan was up 41-35 at the final intermission, but Hyde-Lay – who finished with 25 – came out with a big three followed by a steal and fast break finish. Cowichan rallied until Hyde-Lay drilled a dagger three with 2:30 left to put SMUS up 53-45. Charles’ heavy dunk over the entire SMUS squad with a minute left got me out of my seat and onto Twitter, but it was simply a consolation. St. Michaels takes it 57-50.
SMUS Graeme Hyde-Lay finished with 25 points in the Blue Jags 57-50 win over Cowichan (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Fleetwood took on Lambrick in the second consolation game and Lambrick Grade 9 Calvin Somers came out firing with two early long bombs. At this point the Lions were looking good with a nice mix of Somers shooting and point guard Ismail Abdulahi getting to the hoop. But then Fleetwood brought on backup guard Kevin Alexandrov. After a few tough takes to the hole, Alexandrov – who would finish with a team high 14 points – got his team out to an 18-10 lead to end the first quarter.
Fleetwood’s Tyler Doyle (left) looks for an outlet pass under pressure from Lambrick’s Jacob Barnard (right) in Friday’s match-up (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In the second, Abdulahi responded with a three then a steal and fast break bucket to draw Lambrick within five at the half. The Lions would rally in the third to get up for the quarter break, but Fleetwood had enough firepower to hold Abdulahi – who finished with 23 points – and his Lions off. Final score 68-61 Fleetwood.
Lambrick guard Ishmail Abdulahi drives the ball upcourt against Fleetwood on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Mount Doug against Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI) was the first of the day’s semi-finals. MEI’s disciplined ball movement and ability to knock down threes was again on display, jumping out to an early lead. Point guard Greg Krahn dropped 13 of his 32 points in the opening quarter and it was clear Mt. Doug wasn’t going to stop him. Rams’ Marcus Davis showed his athleticism, rebounding and running the floor, while Ashton MacKinnon continued his mid-range touch to keep Mt. Doug in the game. Missed layups and free throws were what held back the Rams in the second quarter, as MEI got out to an eight-point lead. Luckily, Adam Benrabah drilled a buzzer-beating triple to end the half 35-40.
Lambrick guard Ishmail Abduhali looks to go baseline against Fleetwoods John Tusi on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Mt. Doug got rolling in the third with MacKinnon throwing down a huge two-hand dunk in traffic – forcing me to rethink my scout that he only shoots jump shots. Benrabah – who scored 24 points – followed up with a three-point-play with celebratory clenched fists and a shout. Immediately, Krahn – who always seemed to have an answer – nailed a three of his own. To finish this stellar sequence, MacKinnon stepped out and hit a three, bringing the growing crowd to their feet. Mt. Doug went into the quarter break up 59-55. In the forth both teams battled, MacKinnon hitting jumpers, MEI responding with a three-point-play. But when Benrabah rolled his ankle at the five-minute-mark, Mt. Doug crumbled. MEI’s Josiah Allison – who finished with 24 points – went to work, nailing a three and two free throws. Allison was then fouled on a three-point attempt the next possession and hit those foul shots too. As the Mt. Doug turnovers piled up, so did MEI’s score. MacKinnon – 19 point – threw down another big dunk with one-minute left, but his team trailed by double digits. MEI heads to the final 81-71.
Lambrick’s Mitch Bryan heads to the net while being guarded by Fleetwoods Akash Grewal (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
It was clear everyone had been awaiting Oak Bay. The gym filled up for their 7:30p.m. tip-off as Vancouver College and the Bays took the court. Van College’s press caused major problems for the Bays’ backcourt early in the first and VC’s Elijah Campbell-Axson capitalized. With three minutes left in the first Bays’ coach Chris Franklin called timeout, down 11-18. Campbell-Axson and fellow Fighting Irish guard, Chris McApline continued the onslaught until late in the second when Oak Bay Grade 11 Atlas St-Paul-Butler made back-to-back blocks. The home crowd brought back the Oak Bay atmosphere they’re known for and the Bays responded, drawing back to 35-37. Campbell-Axson would finish the half with a three ball to put Van College up by five.
Lambrick’s Mitch Bryan drives hard up the court in Friday’s game against Fleetwood Park (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The third quarter stayed close as both squads battled for buckets. Matt Gray hit a huge three to put the Bays up 58-56, but his teammates were caught up celebrating and allowed Van College to answer with a three-point play.
The fourth quarter showed why all seats were taken. Gray – who would finish with 18 points – hit another three followed by a tough pull-up jumper in his defender’s face. Again Campbell-Axson – who topped Van College’s scoring with 18 – had an answer. Oak Bay big man Timo Weimer batted away shots on back-to-back possessions, bringing Bays alumni Evan Woodson to his feet. At 71-64 it looked like the Bays were headed for the championship round. Then Van College’s Jack Coady bombed a three and followed up with a steal and breakaway layup to bring his team back from seven points to two. This is where it gets crazy.
Mitch Bryan puts up a jumper over Fleetwood’s Kevin Alexandrov in Friday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Campbell-Axson gets a layup to tie at 71. Matt Gray comes back the other way and is fouled, converting both free throws and keeping the Bays up 73-71. After a Van College miss, St-Paul-Butler was intentionally fouled but missed both free throws.
Lambrick Park’s Isaac Dellabough finds the path toward the basket a little crowded during his game against Fleetwood on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Van College’s McApline crossed half court and the scoreboard buzzer sounded – by accident. Every player on the court stopped and turned to their coach, the referee, the score desk, each other, until Van College’s coaching staff screamed at them to keep going. McApline attacked the hoop and recovering Bays defenders fouled him, sending him to the line. After making the first, he missed the second, but teammate Jack Coady snatched the offensive rebound and put it in with a foul 73-74. The free throw was converted and Van College went up 73-75 with eight-seconds remaining.
A Bays timeout brought the ball to be inbounded at half court where Gray received the pass and went to work on his defender. Firing up a corner three that looked good off the fingers, but the shot missed long. The building went quiet for split second before St-Paul-Butler rose over his defender to snag the offensive board, somehow get the righty hook shot up off the glass and get fouled as the clock hit zero. The shot banked in and the gym went ballistic. St-Paul-Butler – who had missed the two free throws only 30-odd seconds earlier – stepped to the line. Fans held their breath. But St-Paul-Butler delivered with his game high 19th point. Bays teammates and fans flooded the court. Oak Bay now heads to the final – 76-75 in what has so far been the game of the tournament.
Final Round Saturday:
Cowichan vs. Lambrick @ 11:00a.m.
Fleetwood vs. SMUS @ 12:45p.m.
Mt. Doug vs. Van College @ 2:45p.m.
Junior Final: Oak Bay vs. Vancouver College @ 4:15p.m.
Oak Bay vs. MEI @ 6:00p.m.