Charles Hays’s senior basketball team is able to punch above its weight.
The Rainmakers made the trip to Vancouver where they competed in the No Regret Basketball tournament, a single elimination, 16-team competition featuring some of the province’s best AAAA highschools.
“It was a good weekend for us,” said Mel Bishop, one of the team’s coaches who was on the trip. “We’re competing against bigger schools, we’re young and we were able to hold our own. We did well.”
The team’s first game was against West Vancouver High School. The Rainmakers won the game 66-63 with 28 points by Kai Leighton, 20 points from Liam McChesney and 10 points from Malcolm Brown. Bishop said the game was the team’s best defensive performance of the tournament, and they were able to control the defensive boards well.
“Any time you’re holding guys to 60 is good,” Bishop said.
The team lost by one point in its second game to ninth-ranked Kitsilano High School 82-81. Leighton led the way again with 30 points, McChesney added 26 and Malcolm Brown scored 14. The Rainmakers led 78-76 with 1:21 left in the game and 81-80 with a few seconds left, but a costly turnover gave Kitsilano the final possession of the game.
Kitsilano’s Tyrone Asenoguan missed a shot to win the game, but teammate Tiago Costa got the offensive rebound. Costa was fouled and then hit both free throws to give his team the lead. The Rainmakers had one final chance to win, but were unable to take a shot as time ran out.
“They went on to win the tournament, so to play them that well was good,” said Bishop.
In their third game, the Rainmakers beat Salmon Arm 70-57 behind 33 points from McChesney, Christian Clifton score 14 points with Leighton adding 10.
In their final game of the tournament, the Rainmakers played a strong inside game to be Belmont 92-88.
“We got the ball inside a little bit to score on those guys,” Bishop said.
Leighton and McChesney both score 30 points in the game, Clifton scored 18 and Brown added 9.
Bishop said the main takeaways from the tournament is that they can compete with the larger schools in the provice, and that there is still room to improve as the team is still quite young.
“We have to work on boxing out a bit more because we got beaten on the boards, and that’s got to be a point of emphasis,” he said. “We’re young and we’ve still got a lot of room for improvement which is a good thing.”
The Rainmakers next welcome Caledonia to CHSS for their first home game of the season on Dec. 15 and 16. Bishop said it would be important to play an uptempo game to match Caledonia’s size.