The Charles Hays Secondary School senior boy basketball had a successful road trip to Victoria, going 3-1 against AAA and AAAA level competition, and making it to the finals of the Belmont Invitational Tournament from Jan. 18-20.
“It was a good trip,” said coach Mel Bishop. “I thought we did some good things, but there are still areas where we can improve.”
The team’s first game was an exhibition against Nanaimo District Secondary School on Jan. 18, which they won 88-65 behind 24 points by Liam McChesney, 18 points by Kai Leighton, 12 points by Christian Clifton and nine points from Malcolm Brown.
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In their first game of the tournament on Jan. 19, the Rainmakers beat John Barsby Secondary School 92-72. Clifton led the way with 23 points, McChesney added 20 points, Leighton contributed 16 points and guard Cedric McKay scored 14 points.
“We had a pretty good balanced scoring attack,” Bishop said.
In the semi-finals, the Rainmakers beat Cowichan Secondary School 85-61 behind 38 points from Leighton, 20 points from McChesney and 10 points from Malcolm Brown.
In the team’s final game against Belmont High School, the Rainmakers fell behind early, and despite battling back to within eight points, were unable to mount a serious challenge down the stretch of the game. Bishop said poor shooting and giving up too many offensive rebounds hurt the team in the game.
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“They packed the paint against Liam and Kai, and the team couldn’t hit their threes,” he said.
Leighton and McChesney led the way for the Rainmakers with 21 points apiece with Clifton chipping in 12 points.
The Rainmakers next play back-to-back games against Duchess Park Secondary School from Prince George. Bishop said the two games would probably be the team’s toughest challenge of the year ahead of zones. He said the Rainmakers has shown improvements on defence, but that their rebounding and aggression when pursuing loose balls has to improve to compete at the highest level.
“It’ll be a good test for us,” he said. “It should be a good intense game, they have some good athletes in there.”
The games tip off on Jan. 26 and 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the CHSS gym.