The Rainmakers senior boys basketball team are northwest zone champions once again.
Charles Hays Secondary School beat the Smithers Gryphons 105-24 on Feb. 24 in their home gym, punching their ticket to the provincial competition.
“We’re happy with the win,” said Rainmaker’s coach Ryan Bishop. “Hopefully, we can take some things from this weekend and improve and take them with us to provincials.”
The Rainmakers had previously defeated Kitimat Secondary School in the semi-finals to make it to the championship game. Smithers then beat Kitimat in the loser’s bracket semi-finals to set up their game against the Rainmakers.
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CHSS was dominant from the start, outscoring the Gryphons 23-7 in the first quarter with nine points from Liam McChesney, five points from Kai Leighton and four points from Christian Clifton. The Rainmaker’s length and speed on the defensive end overwhelmed the Gryphons, allowing them to get turnovers and easy baskets in transition.
The trend continued in the second quarter where the Rainmakers continued to apply pressure and score 25 points to the Gryphons’s eight to take a 48-15 halftime lead.
With the game out of reach for the Gryphons in the second half, both team’s coaches went to their second and third units in the third and fourth quarters.
The Rainmakers were still able to execute on both ends of the floor however, continuing to outscore their opponents 27-7 in the third quarter and 17-5 in the fourth to seal the victory.
Bishop said that while he was happy his team was able to win, they are switching their focus firmly toward provincial zones, which is approaching in the next few weeks. With a 19-2 record on the season— including wins against some of the province’s top ranked AAA and AAAA schools — the Rainmakers are currently the third ranked AA school in the province, meaning the team has a legitimate shot to make it to the tournament’s semi-final round.
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“Once you get to the final four anything can happen,” Bishop said. “That’s the goal, to make it to the final four and then you’re a win away from the finals and then a win away from the provincial banner. We’ve just got to make sure we get there and take care of business.”
Bishop said he is happy with how the team has developed over the course of the season, but there are always a few fine details that can be improved to give them the best possible chance of doing well in provincials.
“The last thing we can do is tighten up the little things because all the big stuff is pretty much set,” he said. “We’re not going to change any of that stuff in the next few weeks.”