Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
December 30, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In an epic battle between two previously undefeated and #1 ranked teams in their respective Provincial tiers, it was AA Brentwood College who stayed undefeated and emerged with a thrilling 89-85 victory over the AAAA Oak Bay Bays in the championship game of the 2nd Annual UVic Vikes Alumni Senior Boys Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon at the CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria.
The Brentwood College win and the battle between two extremely talented Island teams, capped off three days of basketball that illustrated the incredible level of high school basketball talent that we have here in the Province of British Columbia. The Canadian teams in the draw (Oak Bay, Brentwood College and Vancouver College) dominated the three highly touted American teams (Seattle Academy, Vashon Island and North Kitsap), winning all but one of the nine games played over the three day event.
In fact, the only win by one of the American teams actually came in Saturday’s second game of the day, when North Kitsap defeated Vashon Island 56-51 in a game between two US schools that would not have been played, save for a schedule re-arrangement after Friday’s games that allowed for undefeated Brentwood College and Oak Bay to face-off in the final game.
The Canadian dominance began on Thursday, when Vancouver College defeated Vashon Island 74-58 and Brentwood College dismantled North Kitsap 90-55. Oak Bay then topped off day one of the tournament with a 99-72 win over Seattle.
On Friday, Brentwood College opened the day with a 104-50 cake-walk over Seattle, with Vancouver College then eking out a 79-72 win over North Kitsap and Oak Bay defeating Vashon Island 73-55.
Vancouver College would then complete the three-game sweep of their U.S. opponents, defeating Seattle Academy 80-59 in Saturday’s first game of the day.
Saturday’s final game was everything one could have asked for in a battle between two undefeated teams, featuring some big lead swings, followed by a nail-biting and down to the wire finish that had the good-sized crowd at CARSA on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer.
Brentwood College looked like they were going to dominate things early, as they worked the ball well down low to their big-man Somto Dimonachie to jump into a 14-5 lead with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Bays would respond to tie things up at 18-18 with just over a minute to play in the frame, but ended up trailing 23-18 at the end of the first quarter. Oak Bay would then make some adjustments at the break and come out firing, going on an 11-0 run to begin the second and take a 29-23 lead.
Thanks to some deadly outside shooting from Oak Bay’s Diego Maffia, who finished the half with 22 points, the Bays would extend their lead to 14 points, 41-27, before Brentwood College went on a 12-5 run to end the quarter and cut the Bays lead to 46-39 at the half.
Brentwood would continue to eat away at the Bays lead in the third, eventually tying the game 51-51 with about 6:30 remaining in the quarter and from that point on, the teams would battle basket-for-basket, with Oak Bay once again taking the lead, 56-53, before Brentwood responded to hold a 65-62 lead at the end of the quarter.
An equally as exciting fourth quarter saw the teams tied on four occasions at 67-67, 69-69, 71-71 and 79-79, the latter with just over three minutes to play. Oak Bay would then jump into an 84-79 lead, but Brentwood hit a couple of clutch baskets of their own to go ahead 87-85 with 16 seconds to play. A drive to the net for the tying basket by Oak Bay’s Caelan Scott would result in a travelling call, with Brentwood then cashing in a couple of free-throws to ice the game in the dying seconds.
For Brentwood, Dimonachie finished the game with 25 points to lead his team and earn a tournament All-Star selection, while eventual tournament MVP Bruno Chan scored 20, 10 of which came in the pivotal third quarter. Also hitting double figures for Brentwood were Nathan Pasloske, with 13 and Brendan Sullivan, with 10.
For the Bays, Maffia would finish the game with 28 points, with Scott cashing in 22 in the losing effort. Riley Cronk also hit double figures with 13. Both Maffia and Scott were also named to the tournament All-Star team.
Both Oak Bay and Brentwood will be back in action just after New Year’s with the Bays resuming league play with games against Lambrick Park on Jan. 4 and Belmont on Jan. 6. Brentwood does not resume league play until later in the month, but will tune up for that with games against John Barsby and Claremont at the Claremont Spartan Invitational on Jan. 5 and 6.