Oak Bay_BBall

By Lachlan Ross, Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

December 21, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The 2013 Gary Taylor Alumni Classic wrapped up Saturday with the final consolation games, as well as the bronze medal game between Mt. Doug and Vancouver College and the Championship game between host Oak Bay and the MEI Eagles from Abbotsford.  ISN’s Lachlan Ross has all the details of the exciting final day.

After three days in the Oak Bay bleachers, the sore back is worth it. This was my first Gary Taylor Classic, watching eight B.C. basketball teams battle for bragging rights before provincial championships in March. The Oak Bay High School run tournament – in memory of Bays coaching legend Gary Taylor, who won six Island Championships and two Provincial titles throughout the 60’s – is a great opportunity to showcase high school ball in Victoria with local talent and teams from the Lower Mainland in attendance.

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Vancouver College’s Chris McAlpine (5) blocks out Mt. Doug’s Ashton MacKinnon during bronze medal action Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

This tourney gives students and families a place to come together and appreciate the hard work these players, coaches, officials, and organizers put in. Furthermore, it provides university and college players who have finished exams and basketball – like me – to see the guys we might play with and against next year. With the full schedule of post-secondary student-athletes, we don’t get opportunities to see these young studs take the court too often, so it’s a nice way to stay around basketball while still resting the legs over winter break.

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Vancouver College’s Joseph Anthony drive past Mt. Doug’s Lewis Hurst in Saturday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

To open the day’s play, Cowichan and Lambrick battled for their first win of the week. Each team went to their strengths early – Cowichan’s size and Lambrick’s speed. Lions’ guard Ismail Abdulahi continued to score, adding in some range with a pair of long bombs and eight points for the quarter. Cowichan big, Travis McDonald, answered with six points in the paint and despite T-Birds star Josh Charles only having two points, Lambrick only led 15-14 at the end of the first.

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Mt. Doug’s Marcus Davis (5) is slowed by Vancouver College’s Kelly Chow (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The second quarter saw team efforts from both squads and Cowichan took the lead 32-25 with Charles at four points. After the halftime break, play continued back and forth between McDonald and Abdulahi – the big fella dropping in eight and the guard putting in seven of his total 23 for the game. Cowichan was still up 47-44 going into the fourth, but whatever happened in this quarter break, it got Charles going. He came out with 16 of his 20 points for the morning in the fourth, while the entire pride of Lions could only muster 10. And these weren’t just 16 points. Charles was going at the hoop and daring defenders to get in his way and he crushed in dunk after dunk. Charles and his T-Birds take their first win of the tournament, while Lambrick leaves winless 69-54.

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Vancouver College’s McCoy Lum drives past Mt. Doug’s Michael Griffin (left) and Ashton MacKinnon (right)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

SMUS and Fleetwood took the court for their fifth-sixth playoff and St. Michaels guard Danny Wu got hot from deep, draining two triples and getting his squad up 23-19 at the end of the first. Fleetwood guard John Tusi fought to keep his team in the hunt with 11 first half points, but SMUS remained up 33-29 at the half. St. Michaels came out in the third quarter playing classic SMUS style basketball – pesky defence all over the floor and balanced scoring – to boost their lead 49-35.

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Vancouver College’s Jack Coady goes baseline on Mt. Doug’s Lewis Hurst (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

After being held to six points in the third quarter, Fleetwood sharp-shooter, Akash Grewal, tried to rally his boys back in – equally the team’s third quarter total in two shots. But SMUS Wu answered with a three of his own and four clutch free throws, taking fifth spot 65-58.

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Mt. Doug’s Ashton MacKinnon puts up a jumper over the Irish’s Chris McAlpine (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Vancouver College, who probably felt hard done by after last nights buzzer beater loss to Oak Bay in the semis, showed up to the gym with a clear message – they can play. Unfortunately for Mount Doug, not only were they facing a team looking to prove themselves, they were also missing go-to-guy Adam Benrabah – who hurt his ankle in their loss to MEI last night. Van College point guard, Cam Beers, was hot early, draining threes and making tough layups over and around the Mt. Doug bigs.

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Vancouver College’s Chris McAlpine goes in for an easy two (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Ashton MacKinnon’s shots weren’t dropping like they had been all week and the Rams couldn’t find a guy to take over. They held on for a Van College 24-18 first quarter lead, but in a scrappy second quarter of Mt. Doug turnovers and Van College layups, the deficit ballooned to 49-24 at the half. Mt. Doug would come out of the break hard with a 7-0 run, but Van College pulled together and replied with five straight of their own.

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Mt. Doug’s Gavin Cobb gos up for two against Vancouver College’s Elijah Campbell-Axson (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

From there, the Fighting Irish didn’t have to battle for many buckets, getting layups and open threes. Mt. Doug on the other hand managed to keep the deficit around 20 for the rest of the game, but had to scrap for every point they got. With Benrabah and MacKinnon watching on from the bench, Mt. Doug continued to play hard, but just couldn’t convert. Van College captures third place 83-58.

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Mt. Doug’s Michael Griffin drives hard past Vancouver College’s Manvir Khun-Khun (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Gary Taylor was present for the tournament final between Oak Bay and Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI), tossing the ball for a photo-op jump ball pre-game. With construction underway on a new gym, this was the last time the Gary Taylor Classic will be held in the historic Bays gym.

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Gary Taylor (centre) throws up the ceremonial championship tip-off for MEI’s Joel Sinclair (left) and Oak Bay’s Timo Weimer (right)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

MEI’s Josiah Allison came out strong going back and forth for buckets with Bays post Timo Weimer. Oak Bay point guard Matt Gray then got involved with two three-balls that fired the local fans up. Midway through the quarter, Josiah was joined on court by his younger brother Nathan – their Captain America and Superman themed socks seeming to spark 10-straight points from the pair – ending the quarter 23-15 for MEI.

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MEI’s Josiah Allison drives baseline on Oak Bay’s Matt Gray (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Oak Bay would come out in the first two minutes of the second on a 7-0 run and a MEI timeout didn’t stop it. The Bays were dominant throughout most of the second quarter, but couldn’t convert with baskets from anywhere. Layups were rimming out, open jumpers were slightly short or long, and it looked like the hoop had shrunk. Then MEI point guard Greg Krahn got his guys going with a Steph Curry-like head fake and pivot to finish a floater, a layup, and a pull-up jumper in the space of two minutes. The Mainland Mennonites up 33-29 at half.

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MEI’s Greg Krahn would help pace the Eagles early (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Coming out of the break, Krahn began a MEI air raid of the Bays gym, bombing threes from everywhere. Atlas St-Paul-Butler fought back with layups, but the Eagles’ Mike Peters got in on the long shots too. To finish off the quarter Josiah Allison drilled one last long-bomb to send a message – MEI 52-44 going into the fourth.

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Oak Bay’s Liam Finnigan looks for a pass option under the guard of MEI’s Mitch Krahn (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

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MEI’s Joel Sinclair holds on tight to this rebound (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Bays again came out of the quarter break hot with Gray nailing a three and Weimer finessing a righty hook shot. With two minutes to go, Oak Bay senior, Noah Harris stepped into a clutch triple and hit it, putting his team up 56-57. The student section of the gym was on their feet, absolutely loving it.

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Oak Bay’s Noah Harris is stymied by a pair of MEI defenders (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

After a MEI layup and Bays free throw, the teams were locked at 58. Then Gray again drilled a massive triple, walking back down the court tapping three fingers to his head like Carmelo Anthony. But Captain America – Josiah Allison – answered with a three of his own from the top of the key with 26-seconds left. Timeout Bays. On the final play of the fourth, Oak Bay dribbled the clock down until a desperation pass across the perimeter with two-seconds left was caught and shot by Gray – only to have Josiah Allison block it. Overtime.

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Oak Bay’s M. Tang-Blumenschein looks to dribble past MEI’s Greg Krahn (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Greg Krahn is one composed kid – and in overtime of the tournament final it showed. First play of the extra period he was fouled and went to the line. Unscathed by Oak Bay boos he swished both. St-Paul-Butler would answer with a nice find from Weimer for the layup – 63-all.

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Oak Bay’s Matt Gray did his best to lead his team to victory, hitting a key triple late in the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Josiah Allison hit another incredible shot – a mid range jumper with the foul, but missed the extra point. Bays got a good look at a three, but couldn’t convert and the intentional foul game begun. This time on the line it was the other Krahn – Greg’s twin brother, Mitch.

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Oak Bay’s Matt Gray (left) and MEI’s Joel Sinclair battle for this rebound Saturday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

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Oak Bay’s Noah Harris goes up for a pair (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Different Krahn, same result – MEI 67-63. Another Oak Bay three rimmed out for St-Paul-Butler to miss the put back, but Weimer would clean it up for two, giving him 17 points for the night. With seven seconds remaining Greg Krahn was fouled, and iced the game with his 23rd and 24th points. On the backs of two sets of brothers, MEI takes the 6th Annual Gary Taylor Classic 69-65.

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Oak Bay’s Timo Weimer hits for a pair against MEI Saturday 
(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Final Placings:

  • 1st Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI)
  • 2nd Oak Bay
  • 3rd Vancouver College
  • 4th Mount Doug
  • 5th St. Michaels University School (SMUS)
  • 6th Fleetwood Park
  • 7th Cowichan
  • 8th Lambrick Park

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MEI’s Greg Krahn would be fouled by Oak Bay’s Noah Harris late in OT and then drain his free throws to seal the win for MEI 
(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Tournament All-Stars:

  • Matt Gray (Oak Bay)
  • Elijah Campbell-Axson (Van College)
  • Josiah Allison (MEI)
  • Atlas St-Paul-Butler (Oak Bay)
  • Ashton MacKinnon (Mt. Doug)
  • Tournament MVP:
  • Greg Krahn (MEI)

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The 2013 Gary Taylor Classic Champion MEI Eagles 
(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Junior Final:

Vancouver College beats Oak Bay 53-31, led by Sam Bailey (14pts) and Rysen John (13pts). Bays Grade 9 Jaden Touchie finished with a game high 17 points.