A fourth-place finish awaited Justin McChesney and Team B.C. at the 2015 17U Men’s National Basketball Championship, but you wouldn’t know it when looking at who they defeated in the week-long tourney.
A three-point win over Team Manitoba, the defending champions, on Aug. 6 highlighted a successful, but medal-less west coast effort from McChesney and the bunch, who found their offensive game quite easily but had trouble stopping opponents in the paint.
Due to the nature of year-by-year turnover in the age group-based tourney, Manitoba wasn’t the strongest team returning from 2014 – that honour would go to the hosts, Nova Scotia, who Team B.C. faced the very next day after knocking off the 2014 champs.
Winning it all on home court at the Homburg Centre at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia just barely eked out the victory over McChesney and B.C. in the semifinals, 58-55 to knock out the visitors and put them in the bronze medal game.
McChesney had his finest game on the court statistics wise when he put up six points and pulled in six rebounds against the powerhouse home squad, who ended up beating Team Ontario 116-109 in a final where all defence was thrown out the window in the run-and-gun championship.
Upon arriving on the last day of the tourney on Aug. 8 and facing Quebec in the third-place match, Team B.C. got some tough looks in the paint, only being able to shoot 23.8 per cent in the second quarter and 33.3 per cent in the fourth.
Despite the low accuracy of their shots, B.C. kept it close and, again, McChesney put up six points, and nabbed four rebounds in the bronze medal game, but the team ultimately lost to Quebec 76-73 in another three-point squeaker.
During the round robin stages, McChesney and his crew nearly doubled up on their first opponent, neighbouring Alberta, 91-59.
It was a lower finish than the crew was hoping for, having won gold in the under-16 tournament a year ago with B.C., but each player will now take the experience with them as they graduate from the Basketball B.C. youth developmental programs, spanning boys’ and girls’ age ranges of under-14 to under-17.
With numerous scouts taking in the tournament as well, a few may be picked up by universities and colleges in Canada and the U.S. McChesney will now suit up for his Grade 12 year at Charles Hays Secondary School in Rupert and try to repeat as zone champions and provincial finalists.