February 26, 2022 Victoria, BC (ISN) – Victoria’s Oak Bay boys senior basketball squad claimed their seventh consecutive 4A Island Basketball Championship with a 78 – 69 wins over the Claremont Spartans in front of a “standing room only” house at Mt. Douglas Secondary’s gymnasium Saturday evening.
Not only did they mark their seventh island title in a row, but the championship win was also their 26th time they hoisted the championship trophy in the school’s storied basketball history. With the tournament victory Oak Bay and Claremont punched their ticket to BC’s version of the March Madness tournament to represent Vancouver Island at the all-provincial championships held March 9-12 in Langley, BC.
The Saturday game was a rematch of the Victoria City final played only one week ago at the UVic CARSA barn where Oak Bay would also prevail by a near identical score 77-66.
Unlike last Friday’s game, #1 island-ranked Oak Bay would play from behind for most of the first half to their #2 ranked opponent.
The Spartans, head coached by Brandon Dunlop, looked well prepared from the opening tip-off. Claremont, noticeably quicker to the ball and the defensive boards would lead by as many as ten points, putting the Bays back on their heels. Starting Spartans pivot Camden Sparks would be a difference maker for his team in the opening frame. The quicker foot of the 6’7” centre would be equally effective on the boards as playing outside to give his teammates room to operate in the key. The Bays would find themselves down by seven points, 24-17, after one period.
Oak Bay would climb back into the game in the second quarter as tournament MVP Griffin Arnatt would start to heat up with his inside- outside play. Oak Bay’s guard Thomas Beames would be true to the mark with seconds remaining in the half to pull his team within a single point. The Spartans first quarter lead would be cut to the slimmest of margins 37-36 going into the locker room at halftime.
Both teams would spar much of the third frame with back and forth scoring opportunities, making the game even further entertaining for the throngs of basketball fans in the bleachers, however the Spartans could not find the resolve to hold back Oak Bay’s constant pressure. Costly turnovers and penalties would prevent Claremont from sustaining the scoring pressure despite the play of Camden, Izzy Helman, and Mikah Smith.
Hot-handed Helman would open the tournament with a 44-point performance to dominate the Cowichan Thunder Birds in game one for the Spartans, but he and his teammates were unable to hold back a surging Bays team.
Oak Bay’s Arnott, Beames and 6’7” Kiran Chadwick-Rupp would carry the Bays late third quarter momentum into the final period, taking the lead 58-57 just one minute into the fourth quarter.
The Spartans, looking to drive to the hoop for their offense, would find themselves to the free throw line for their points, however time would not be on the Saanich team’s side. Oak Bay would go on to outscore the Spartans 20-12 in the remaining nine minutes to pull away for the certain victory and the island championship.
Named 1st Team Allstar were : Shayden Smid ( Cowichan), Aiden Walsh ( G.P. Vanier), Malachi Bryden (Belmont), Thomas Beames ( Oak Bay), Camden Sparkes ( Claremont)
Named 2nd Team Allstar were: Lucas Sheets (Belmont), Sam Barnie (G.P. Vanier), Taran Gill (Nanaimo), Kiran Chadwick-Krupp (Oak Bay), Izzy Helman (Claremont)
Best Defensive Player: Michael Adarkwa-Nti
Most Valuable Player: Griffin Arnatt