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Rainmakers on a roll

Last weekend, the Rainmakers hosted the Coastal Clash tournament, winning the trophy in the process
The Rainmakers’ Eric Lees prepares to accept a pass on Saturday afternoon against Coast Tsimshian Academy as part of the Coastal Clash tournament at Charles Hays. The Rainmakers won the game 64-35 enroute to winning the tournament.

The victories keep piling up for the junior boys basketball team at Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS).

Last weekend, the Rainmakers hosted the Coastal Clash tournament, winning the trophy in the process for at least the sixth year in a row. The Rainmakers are now 10-0 on the season and came into the weekend as the No. 9 ranked junior boys team in the province.

“The boys played well. We still have some room to improve on both sides of the ball but offensively, I like our pace,” coach Kevin Sawka said.

On Friday night, CHSS started off the tourney with a lopsided 104-11 win against Mount Elizabeth Secondary School (MESS) from Kitimat. Six different Rainmakers scored double digits in points.

The games continued all day on Saturday. The boys beat Coast Tsimshian Academy 64-35 in a closer match. In that game, Kai Leighton scored 24 points to lead the team and Eric Lees had 13.

In the championship game, the Rainmakers dominated once again, beating the Caledonia Kermodes 67-15 for the win. 12 different players scored for Prince Rupert, led by 16 from Leighton and 11 from Colby Stephens.

Leighton was named tournament MVP, while Lees and Stephens were all-stars. Sawka has also been impressed with the play of Brendan Eshom.

“His hustle is unmatched really. I haven’t had a kid like that in a while who has a motor that just doesn’t quit. He’s everywhere, he does all the intangibles,” he said.

This Rainmakers team has been successful so far because all the guys are true basketball players who work hard. The coach said he has to fight with them to take days off.

“They follow college hoops, they follow the NBA, they follow what our senior teams our doing, they watch basketball YouTube stuff. Any of the most successful teams that I’ve had over the last 17 years have been teams made up largely of kids that play outside of season as well,” Sawka said.

He has also been impressed with the selflessness of the team.

“I can’t remember a single selfish play yet over the course of the entire season. They always do a good job of finding their guy, they don’t care who it is,” Sawka said.

That’s a big part of what makes the Rainmakers such a threat offensively, because it’s a well-balanced team that is just in it to win and because they love the game, the coach said.

The boys play MESS in Kitimat this weekend as they continue to prepare for the zone championship in Rupert on Feb. 10 and 11.

Prince Rupert Middle School was also a part of the tournament and PRMS student Aiden Leighton was named an all-star. Fellow PRMS player Ryland Adams won the free throw contest as well.

Kai Leighton won the three-point competition in a sudden-death shoot off.