Boys: Charles Hays vs. West Van
Semi-final at Collingwood
The infamous plaid short Highlanders have made their way into their rival Collingwood’s gym to take on the out of town Charles Hays Rainmakers in a quarter-final matchup. A physical start to the game has raised the excitement level in the gym with both teams working hard and fighting for rebounds down-low. A number of fouls by the Rainmakers early has allowed West Van to get out to a 7-2 lead with a majority of those points coming from the line. Both teams took a few minutes to settle into this game, but as the halfway point of the first quarter is crossed it appears we are in for an entertaining battle. Strong defensive efforts by both teams has kept this one low scoring and tight, with the Rainmakers up 13-11 after the first quarter.
The tandem of #23 McChesney and #10 Leighton for the Rainmakers are using their height to make life difficult for the Highlanders. A fast break opportunity for the Rainmakers has got this crowd fired up… as #2 Stephens took a transition pass and put it off the backboard to the storming McChesney for the aggressive alley-oop dunk off the backboard! In case the Rainmakers needed any re-energizing, that should do the trick. Apparently the fans back in Prince Rupert are wishing they could be here in the gym, as one of the Rainmakers assistant coaches is Facetiming the fans back home so they can enjoy the game from the comfort of their homes. Talk about commitment. Charles Hays’ offensive prowess has started to show and has them up 26-16 with a few minutes left in the quarter. Both teams are looking to get their opponents on their heels in transition and turn that into quick points. At the half the Rainmakers are up 31-21.
Halftime Fact: The infamous ‘No Regrets’ Donuts in the Collingwood gym are running low, and some locals are starting to worry about their sugar levels with still one more game to come after this matchup.
The Rainmakers start the second half with their bread and butter - pick ’n roll getting the ball into McChesney’s hands in the key. McChesney’s ability to handle the ball is creating matchup problems for the Highlanders who are forced to have their big-man guarding McChesney as he brings the ball up the court. #13 Ceolin for the Highlanders made the impressive chase down block on Stephens in what Stephen must have assumed was a wide open layup… Ceolin had other plans. A nice run by the Highlanders which started with the big block has them back within 5 and momentum on their side. The teams are now going back and forth each making buckets and looking to finish the quarter with the advantage. #21 Shokrollahy Zadeh for the Highlanders is making a big impact for his squad on both ends of the court. Offensive rebounds and put-back layups have him racking up the points, and he is fearlessly challenging McChesney at the rim on the defensive end. End of third quarter and the Rainmakers are holding onto a slim 3 point lead.
Only two minutes into the fourth quarter and McChesney picked up a quick fourth foul, followed by a technical foul which has resulted in him fouling out of the game with a lot of time left. The Rainmakers are going to have to try and earn this win without their go-to threat down the stretch. Charles Hays’ has dropped back into a zone D in an effort to mix up their defensive look and force the Highlanders to test out their zone offence early in the season. The Rainmakers team seems more focused after their losing their star and they have turned that into a nice run to go back up 9 with 5 minutes left. A lucky or unlucky bounce, depending who you are cheering for, went off the ref to keep the ball in play by the sideline and led to an easy bucket in transition for the Rainmakers. The Rainmakers lost a second player as #5 Cachero fouls out on an over the back call with under 3 minutes to go in the game. The Highlanders are down 5 points with 2:45 left to go and are going to need a few clutch buckets down the stretch to give themselves a chance. A big three by Leighton with a minute and half left has pushed the lead to 10 points and it is starting to look like miracle category if the Highlanders are going to be going home with a smile. #1 Jones has just sealed the deal with a high flying layup and bicep flex to put his squad back up double digits. A dramatic game high up in the British Properties finished with the Rainmakers winning 72-65.