The Charles Hays Junior Rainmakers started their season with a bang in Prince George.
The team made a trip Dec. 1-2 where they played in seven games against rival teams as they prepare for the upcoming season. The team went 5-2 for the weekend, going 3-1 in full squad games and 2-1 in backup games.
“Overall, it was a pretty successful trip,” said coach Kevin Sawka. “We’ve found the things we need to work on going forward and we’ll continue to improve.”
The Rainmaker’s first full-squad game was against hosts Duchess Park on Dec. 1. The team had a fast start and held a 12-point lead in the game’s final minutes. However, Sawka said that poor clock management and poor shot selection allowed Duchess Park back into the game, and they scored a layup to send the game into overtime.
The Rainmakers held Duchess Park to four points in the overtime to win the game 60-55 behind 26 points from Tyler Jones and eight points from Aiden Leighton.
The team’s second full-squad game was against Prince George Secondary School. The game was competitive in the first half with Prince Rupert holding a 28-21 lead at the end of the second quarter. The Rainmakers extended their lead with a dominant third quarter, outscoring their opponent 21-9 for a 49-30 lead. Sawka said he was able to get some of his backups some playing time in the fourth quarter and they held on to win 61-43.
The Rainmakers lost their third game on Dec. 2, a rematch against the Duchess Park team they had beaten the day before. Like the first game, the team held a sizeable 53-40 lead over their opponents with less than three minutes left to play, but quick shots and poor transition defence allowed Duchess park back into the game. Despite 21 points from Aiden Leighton, 12 points from Caden Pagens, 11 points from Tyler Jones and eight points from Brendan Eshom, the Rainmakers lost the game 63-56.
The team bounced back from that loss to beat College Heights Secondary School 50-35 behind 13 points from Caden Pagens and eight points from Aiden Leighton in a game they led from start to finish. Sawka said the team will improve as the year continues.
“There’s going to be a lot of growth there coming into the end of the season,” he said. “I think it will be noticeable.”
Second team goes 2-1
The Rainmakers second team played well in their games. The subs beat Duchess Park 51-40 behind 12 points from Tyler Jackson, 10 points from Devon LaLiberte and 11 points from Rylan Adams. They lost their second game to Duchess Park 58-52 with LaLiberte scoring 13 points, Jackson scoring 9 points and Daylyn Moraes scoring 13 points.
In their final game against Duchess Park’s B-team the Rainmaker’s second team won 103-21 behind 19 points from Jonathan Boutlier, 14 points from Isaac Mastroianni and 12 points from Logan Peterson.
The juniors next play in a tournament in Terrace Dec. 8-9.