Written by Devin Delany, Scott Leigh & Eric Casey
Remember These Titans
The streets of the North Shore quieted as the stands filled up in anticipation of the Handsworth Royals vs the visiting South Kamloops Titans. The table was set for a night of revenge for the Royals, who were looking to avenge a disappointing three point loss to the Titans one week prior. South Kamloops, the alma-mater of NBA player Kelly Olynyk, was looking to ruin the Royals’, who formerly featured their own NBA player in Rob Sacre, chances of winning at home.
Prior to tip-off there was a touching video tribute honouring Quinn Keast - the inspiration for the No Regrets tournament. It was a reminder about what the tournament is all about.
The Royals controlled the opening tip and proceeded with a tic-tac-toe play resulting in a lay-up for the first two points of the game. High intensity defence was on display to start the game with neither team giving an inch. Points were hard to come by early, as mid-way through the first quarter the score remained knotted at 2-2. Despite an obvious size advantage, Handsworth struggled to capitalize on having the proverbial mouse in their house as Kamloops was not intimidated by the larger Royals.
The first quarter could be summed up with one word - defence. It truly was a defensive battle as both teams would struggle to find rhythm from the field hoping for better luck in the second frame. The first frame came to a close with the Royals holding an 11-10 lead after the Titans hit a long distance banked 3 pointer to keep it tight.
In the second quarter, Handsworth’s big man forgot he had already arrived at the game as was caught travelling on 3 consecutive possessions. Despite his happy feet, he continued to be an integral part of the Royals squad especially on the defensive end controlling the low blocks.The second quarter block party would impress both teams' coaches' defences but would continue to make points on the scoreboard a rarity.
‘Believe it or not’ the Titans’ big man Ripley was around and was making an impact on both ends of the floor. He was a beast in the paint, and helping to neutralize the Royals’ size. As the quarter wound down the Royals started to find their stroke from the land beyond which would give them a 4 point lead heading into the halftime break.
Whatever the South Kam Titans coach said behind closed doors at the break seemed to light a fire under his team as they began the second half as a completely different squad. The Titans came out with the Splash Brothers of #9 and #13 combining to drill three straight trifectas en route to 11 unanswered points to begin the third frame. This resulted in Coach Mowat's face becoming increasingly red in colour before calling a timeout to settle both his team and himself down.
SK's #13 Quinn Adams’ hot hand continued, dropping basket after basket providing his team with a 43-35 lead midway through the third. These hot hands mixed with a press-heavy defence seemed to deflate the Royals energy and their fans in the bleachers.
The Titans’ five guard lineup allowed them to space the floor and dissect the Handsworth defence with an array of threes and drives en route to a 19 point advantage in the third, and a lead of 15 points going into the fourth.
The Royals, however, were not looking to roll over. They came out gunning, with Riley Shanks opening the bank to cash in on consecutive 3’s. The Royals’ sudden wave of energy halted the Titans’ momentum, as they began to play hesitantly and were not attacking the way they were during their dominant third quarter stretch. To pile on to the Titans’ rough fourth quarter, key forward Quinn Adams fouled out with 5:48 remaining in the game. The Titans would then transition into a zone defence to stop the Royals momentum that inched them back into the game.
The Royals found themselves battling the clock as they trailed the Titans 61-52 with 180 seconds remaining. In the end, the Royals’ love affair with the three-ball cost them as they cooled off at the end of the fourth. This, in conjunction with the Titans’ rediscovering their game with pesky defence, ball movement, and key inside baskets allowed Kamloops to crack the game back open, resulting in a final score of 70 - 59.
Both teams displayed great sportsmanship and left it all on the floor.
Well Olynyk has the bragging rights over Sacre on this night!