Two of B.C.’s top 10 AA senior boys basketball teams squared off on Jan. 12 in the renewal of a heated private school rivalry.
Host Brentwood College won the showcase game against Shawnigan Lake School 72-43. Defending B.C. champions Brentwood were and remain the top-ranked AA team in the province, while Shawnigan was ranked eighth going into the week and has since slipped to 10th.
Brentwood head coach Blake Gage was happy with the result, but would have preferred a more consistent outing. The famously boisterous crowd may have provided some distractions and additional pressure for his players, he acknowledged.
“There were flashes where we played well, but we had a hard time sustaining the effort,” he said. “It’s a hard environment to play in because of the home crowd, but the guys did a good job. Playing in front of their friends and peers, the boys feel pressure. Over the years, we’ve struggled to play well in these games. I’d say we’ve never played well in these games. But they were as focused as I’ve seen them, certainly for an environment like that one.”
Gage was pleased with how his defence managed to shut down one of Shawnigan’s most dangerous players.
“I thought they did a good job contending with their big man [Sergio Pereira],” he said. “The boys did a good job dealing with him all night.”
Another positive for the Brentwood players was their patience in the challenging environment.
“Considering how hyped up the guys can be, they calmed down and got good shots,” Gage said.
Last weekend, Brentwood finished third in the Abbotsford Snowball Tournament, which attracted top-ranked teams from all over B.C. as well as one of Ontario’s best, St. Michael’s, who ended up winning it all.
Brentwood started off with a 81-65 win over Kelowna, then were edged 83-81 by Walnut Grove, and finally beat Burnaby South 70-47.
Brentwood will visit Vancouver College this weekend, then host their own tournament, along with Shawnigan, on Feb. 1-3.