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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

February 26, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Although there is still the small matter of bragging rights for Vancouver Island, both the Lambrick Park Lions and St. Michael’s University School (SMUS) Blue Jags can breathe a little easier, as they will both be heading to the 2016 BC High School AA Senior Boys Basketball Championships in Langley on March 9th, following semi-final wins Friday in the 2016 AA Island Championships being held at St. Michael’s University School (SMUS) in Victoria.

Trey Crust (right) and the Lambrick Park Lions would defeat Brentwood College Friday to advance to the AA Island Finals Saturday and the BC AA Provincials on March 9th (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Blue Jags were the first to advance Friday with a 68-45 spanking of the Shawnigan Lake Stags, while in the nightcap, the Lions ran away with a 59-40 win over Brentwood College.

Both teams will now play in the Vancouver Island AA Championship game on Saturday night at SMUS, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 pm. In that game, the Blue Jags will hope to avenge their loss to the Lions in the Lower Vancouver Island Championship just a week ago, while the Lions will be looking to re-claim the Island’s #1 ranking that they lost to the Blue Jags in mid-season.

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Things looked good early for Shawnigan Lake against SMUS as Litha Ncanisa (12) would find an easy route to the hoop for two of his seven points (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

SMUS 68 Shawnigan Lake 45

The first semi-final of the night between a pair of teams that split the two games they played against each other this year, was a well-played beauty that featured everything you could ask for in a big playoff basketball game, including amazing baskets, huge momentum swings and a crazy, mid-game turning point that turned the outcome in the Blue Jags favour.

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Shawnigan’s Mostyn Findlay (11) grimaces as he heads to the net for two of his 18 points against SMUS on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Shawnigan got off to a quick start 3-0 start, but SMUS responded quickly and jumped up 12-5 with 5:30 to play in the quarter. The Stags would mount a comeback though and a clutch jumper just before the buzzer gave Shawnigan a 17-15 lead at end of first.

In perhaps one of the most exciting quarters of high school basketball this season, the teams traded baskets in the second quarter, with the Stags maintaining their two-point lead, 27-25, at the half.

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Shawnigan’s Peter Wang (10) avoids the check of SMUS’ Quinn Ngawati (21) during first half action Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Cue the big lead swing drama. The Stags came out on fire in the third quarter going on a 12-0 run to bump their lead to 39-27. A critical time out by SMUS coach Ian Hyde-Lay, perhaps his most crucial time out of the season, stemmed the tide and after the Blue Jags responded with a couple of highlight-reel baskets by star guard Ryan Hindson, they would continue on a run of their own, to tie the score 42-42 with just over four minutes to go in the frame.

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Blue Jag Ryan Hindson (11) was once again electric as he scored 22 points to pace SMUS to the semi-final win over Shawnigan (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That momentum would carry the Blue Jags to a 47-44 lead at the end of the quarter and then, much to the delight of the large number of SMUS fans in attendance, the home side would outscore the Stags 19-1 in the fourth quarter to run away with the 68-45 win.

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Shawnigan Lake was limited to just a single point in the fourth quarter Friday, largely in part to the domination on defence of SMUS centre Lucas de Vries (14) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“Go figure high school basketball,” said SMUS Head Coach Hyde-Lay. “We go down by 12 and in the time-out I asked the boys, ‘what are we doing here?’ Then we go on a 41-6 run to finish the game. Unbelievable!”

As he has done many times, Hindson led the Blue Jags assault with 22 points in total, 11 of which came in that pivotal third quarter. Ben Keep also added 13, including three from distance and Lucas deVries chipped in 11.

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SMUS’ Alec Keech (12) looks for a way to the hoop late in Friday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

For Shawnigan, Mostyn Findlay led the way with 18, while Sheldon Crisp added 10.

The Stags will now have a chance to play for the third Island berth for the Provincials and they will meet the Parkland Panthers in the semi-finals of the consolation bracket at 10:00 am on Saturday. The Panthers defeated Highland earlier on Friday, 82-61. The winner of the Parkland-Shawnigan game will play in the consolation final at 5:45 pm Saturday.

Lambrick Park 59 Brentwood 40

Fresh off a tough 71-57 win over Parkland on Thursday, Brentwood College started off well against Lambrick Park by scoring the first basket of the game to lead 2-0.

Sadly for the Mill Bay school team and their fans, that would be their only lead of the game, as the Lions Austin Somers and Ty Schindel would combine for a quick trio of three-pointers to boost the Lambrick Parkers to an 11-2 lead.

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Lambrick’s Austin Somers (8) would soar for 20 points against Brentwood to help the Lions secure a spot in Saturday’s finals (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Brentwood would push back a bit to trail 18-11 after one, but the Lions would continue their aerial assault from distance in the second quarter, launching five three-pointers to outscore Brentwood 15-9 and take a 33-20 lead into the half.

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Lambrick’s Trey Crust (24) would be a force under the boards Friday, scoring 15 points to help the Lions on to victory (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After a third quarter that saw the teams trade baskets and the Lions increase their lead by one to 47-33, Lambrick’s big man Trey Crust would take things over in the fourth, scoring six big points to help the Lions increase their lead to 21 points at one point, before closing things out with the 59-40 win.

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Lambrick’s Martin Eckard (15) looks for a way to the hoop under some intense pressure from the Brentwood defence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Somers would finish with 20 points on the day, with 15 of those from the three-point arc, while Crust, who also dominated defensively, holding Brentwood’s big man Ferdinand Schultz to just six points, finished with 15 points in the win.

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Brentwood’s Ozgur Tarim (8) would lead his team in scoring with 13 points (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

For Brentwood, Ozgur Tarim led the way with a 13-point night, while Peter Erlich and Aaron Shulga both finished with nine points each in the losing effort.

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With hair-a-flying, Brentwood’s Aaron Shulga (11) heads to the net for two of his nine points Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Brentwood will now join Kwalikum in the consolation bracket and will face-off against the Kondors in the second consolation semi-final at 11:45 am on Saturday. The winner of that game heads to the consolation final against either Parkland or Shawnigan.

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Lambrick’s fans were out in full force Friday and had plenty to cheer about during the Lions win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)