The Terrace junior boys played two close games but lost zone final against the Charles Hayes Rainmakers this weekend.
The first game saw Caledonia Kermode Brody McKay land a beautiful three-point buzzer beater to launch the boys into overtime 41-41.
And though Terrace’s Cole Ouellet managed to score a basket, the Charles Hayes squad netted 14 points overall to take the victory 55-43.
The second game followed a similar pattern, with Charles Hayes leading but only by a margin for nearly the whole match.
In the final two minutes, the Kermodes started building some momentum, scoring two baskets, and called a time out with just over a minute left, standing behind by a narrow 32-35.
But Prince Rupert hooped a three to kill their momentum, and then notched two penalty shots to take the win 40-32.
Kermode coach Matt Lowndes said he thought the Terrace boys competed well.
“Charles Hayes is a good basketball team,” he said. “Their defence is tough, they don’t give up too many baskets.
“Both games could have gone either way.”
And that’s been the trend against the Rainmakers all season, he added, noting that while the Kermodes lost all three season games against them, they always give them a solid run for their money.
Prince Rupert coach Kevin Sawka said much the same.
“We’ve had a really good record this year,” he said of the Rainmakers, noting that they’ve had an undefeated season and played a number of strong games with community teams and their senior boys second string.
Last weekend’s zone final was good, close competition, he added.
“I was really proud of how the guys (Rainmakers) played,” he said, adding that the team has faced a bit of an emotional roller coaster this season.
“We’ve got a kid on our team that’s not with us this weekend, he’s got some health stuff going on… The guys are dedicating the zone championship to him,” said Sawka.
“And I want to give credit to Terrace… they’ve worked really hard to improve this year,” he said, noting that their shooting is pretty consistent, particularly with Brody McKay and James Gagnon.
“And I would say Cole Outlet, his length and size, I would say is the bigger factor… he forces our defence to collapse, he draws a lot of attention, so even if he doesn’t affect the score sheet a lot, (it’s) all the other stuff that he’s doing — he’s changing shots, he’s getting rebounds, and collapsing the defence.
Sawka says from as far back as when he played in 2002, Terrace always seems to play better at home.
“If there was ever a team that had a home court advantage, this is them. They always play better at home,” he said, adding that it’s not the refereeing that makes the difference.
Terrace’s Brody McKay and Cole Ouellet earned All-Stars, along with Rupert’s Brendan Eshom and Caden Pagens.
James Gagnon was named top defensive player and Rupert’s Tyler Jones took the overall MVP.
McKay and Gagnon said they were pleased with their improvement this year.
“It was a lot better than last year,” said McKay.
Gagnon added, “we played good, in our first game we had a lot of turnovers, but we made up for it on defence.”
And that improvement came specifically in their coverage of MVP Tyler Jones.
“He used to draw 30 points a game last year,” said McKay, “but I think the most he’s ever scored against us this year is 12.”
Gagnon has guarded Tyler all year, and said it’s fun, but tough.
“It’s pretty hard, he’s really fast… (but) it’s always fun playing him,” Gagnon said.