The St. Michaels University Blue Jags came close to picking up its second double-A provincial boys basketball championshipin three years with a 54-44 loss to the Brentwood College.
Up by 11 at the half, the Jags were on pace for a major upset when No. 1 seed Brentwood steadily took the momentum backin their favour, said SMUS coach Ian Hyde-Lay.
“I absolutely believed we could play with them, and our guys did too,” Hyde-Lay said. “Unfortunately we’re not really a verypolished offensive team, we struggled to get shots.”
Brentwood nailed a three-point buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter that ultimately changed the momentum in Hyde-Lay’s opinion. In fact, Brentwood was perfect in its fourth quarter takeover hitting three-pointers deep in the shotclock as well as sinking a “huck shot” that will surely become a shot of legend among the Brentwood graduating class.
It was the Blue Jags fourth straight trip to the provincial gold medal game, dating back to their 2014 loss to their Saanichrival the Lambrick Park Lions. SMUS did win the B.C. double-A title in 2015 and finished second last year in a loss toCollingwood.
“We played pretty much as well as we could, and Brentwood were just a bit better, congrats to them,” Hyde-Lay said.
Part of the challenge was getting to the final, Hyde-Lay pointed out. The Blue Jags cruised through the first round, defeatingNechako Valley 91-50, but the scoreline for the quarterfinal win over a feisty St. Patrick’s team, 78-64, is misleading. Thatset up a semifinal against No. 2 seed King George Dragons, a game the Blue Jags eked out 59-55.
Last week was also the second straight top-five finish for the Lambrick Park Lions, seventh straight trip to provincials. TheLions recovered from a quarterfinal loss to G.W. Graham (98-80) to beat H.J. Cambie (85-71) and St. Patrick (79-52) forfifth place.
The Lions also won the city double-A championship and were finalists to Brentwood College at the boys double-A Island championship.
“It was a very strong season, we’re very proud,” said Lions coach Ed Somers. “Seven years in a row [including the 2014provincial title], it’s been really nice run and with our juniors making it to provincials too, we’re in good shape [goingforward].”
“It was a good tournament, as successful as I would have hoped winning three out of four,” Somers said. “All 12 boys whocame [to provincials] played and contributed so I was pretty happy with how it worked out.”
Graduating Lions twins Austin and Calvin Somers were named second team All-Stars.