Rainmakers clinch third at AAA provincials

The added pressure of being a known entity in the upper echelons of the B.C. basketball scene threw the 'Makers under the spotlight

The scrutiny was real.

The added pressure of being a known entity in the upper echelons of the B.C. high school basketball scene threw the Charles Hays Rainmakers senior boys’ AAA squad under the spotlight as provincials came and went.

And they didn’t blink under that glare.

A terrific showing on the West Coast’s biggest stage was what the Rainmakers accomplished, winning third-place in the 16-team 2015 TELUS BC High School Boys AAA Basketball Championship in Langley last weekend.

It might not have been gold and there might have been a sour taste in the mouths of the players immediately after Friday’s semifinals loss to the first-ranked Sir Charles Tupper Tigers from Vancouver, but the Prince Rupert team that had everyone talking leading up to the tournament as the upstart squad from the North Coast did as much damage in the tourney as they were expected to.

That, in itself, is a great thing.

The ‘Makers’ only loss came in the form of Friday’s defeat at the hands of the Tigers, who gave Charles Hays no time or space to produce much of anything in terms of offence. They fell 63-40 to the Tigers, who would eventually claim second-place in one of the tightest AAA championship games to have ever been played in B.C. against Fleetwood Park Secondary from Surrey. Fleetwood Park mounted an incredible comeback versus the Tigers, who had been favourites all week, to win the B.C. crown 73-65.

Other than Friday’s game, the Rainmakers ran the table, winning both other qualifying matches and their third-place game on Saturday, historically one of the toughest games for any team of any sport to get up for, with the Rainmakers having their first-place dreams quashed not even 24 hours prior.

In that third-place matchup, the ‘Makers proved to the province and to themselves that they were worthy of all the talk and admiration they had garnered over the past year.

They stormed out to a 20-12 advantage after the first quarter over their foes, R.A. McMath Secondary of Richmond and never fell behind after that, with point guard Rosendo Masocol doing what he does best, driving the play up the court and passing the ball to whoever had the best looks to sink it.

With that dominant play, the Rainmakers locked up third-place on Saturday afternoon, 77-61.

In their two opening games, Charles Hays downed Courtenay B.C.’s Mark Isfeld Ice on Wednesday 62-49 with both Justin McChesney and Kaine Wesley sinking 19 points to lead the ‘Makers offensively and Perry Terrell getting 10.

Following that, Charles Hays’ next dancing partner was Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman Secondary, who they beat on Thursday with an incredible second half performance, 72-58. The Rainmakers scored 43 points in the latter two quarters to overtake Bateman, compared to 29 in the first half to set them up for the semis against Tupper. That game, which featured 11 lead changes, saw Perry Terrell notch 24 points and Masocol 15.

It was a complete team effort that coach Mel Bishop had previously been pleased to see for the majority of the season. With a healthy roster, the Rainmakers served notice that while they may have a star on the B.C. under-17 team in McChesney, the supporting cast of Masocol, Wesley, Terrell, Kevin Cochrane, Jakob Henry, Cole Marogna, Kyler Reece and Brett Thompson could just as easily harm their opponent. On the bench, Kyler Eckess, Jalene Stephens, Aiden Bull, Nick Campbell, Mitchell Nelson, Bobby Bob and Carter Thorson were happy to step up when called upon.

With his outstanding play in the box, McChesney was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Masocol found his name on the second team all-star list.

Charles Hays has also been the team most consistently near the top of the standings over the past two years, going 6-2 (3-1 in each year’s championship tourney) and taking second-place in 2014 along with their third-place showing this year. The next closest team at the top of the heap are the Tigers who finished in fifth last year, and second this year.

2015 AAA FINAL STANDINGS

1) Fleetwood Park

2) Sir Charles Tupper

3) Charles Hays

4) R.A. McMath

5) Abbotsford

6) Robert Bateman

7) Nanaimo

8) St. Thomas More Collegiate