He was only missing in action for one quarter, but that’s all it took for the Queen Charlotte Saints to capitalize on Rainmakers’ point guard Rosendo Masocol’s absence and defeat Charles Hays’ senior boys basketball team Saturday morning.
A cut lower lip during play forced the ‘Maker to the dressing room in a tight, closely-fought 76-72 loss to the Saints – only Charles Hays’ second loss of the year. In the three-game weekend series, Charles Hays took it two games to one with wins Friday night (90-85) and Saturday night (90-69).
“The games are very good – they’re very intense,” said Rupert senior boys’ head coach Mel Bishop.
Masocol’s loss was largely felt as the ‘Makers saw a 10-point 40-30 halftime lead slip away and the Saints tied the affair 51-51 after three quarters.
From there, it was a back-and-forth contest with players on each side missing some jump shots but hitting consecutive threes all the way down to the final seconds of the game.
And just when it seemed like the team had finally swatted away the injury bug, the Rainmakers’ Justin McChesney was forced to miss the weekend’s action with a sore ankle.
“Nothing major,” said the athlete on Saturday.
He’ll suit up in Lower Mainland basketball action this week with the rest of Prince Rupert and meet up with his new bench boss and B.C.’s provincial under-17 coach Rich Goulet during the Pitt Meadows Air Show 2015 basketball tournament in Vancouver.
But the big man’s presence was sorely missed going up against one of B.C.’s strongest secondary school teams in the Saints.
Jesse Barnes, a powerful six-foot-six Saints player dominated much of the inside game on Saturday morning’s affair and it’s no surprise. Barnes played on B.C.’s under-17 team last year.
“He’s one of the better guys in the province,” said Bishop.
“It’s very hard [containing him] because first of all, he’s six-foot-six and we’re guarding him with a six-foot-one guy and he’s very strong. Very athletic.”
Barnes ended the game with 35 points, and Kaine Wesley, one of the souls tasked with defending him with McChesney’s absence, knew this would be a tough game going into it.
“I expected it to be a harder game today because [Friday] night, we were down by 16, came back and won the game by five and then I knew today was going to be an even harder battle because these guys are a pretty good team altogether,” said Wesley.
“With Justin out I knew I had to put more effort into it.”
And with McChesney on the sidelines, the height difference between the two teams was exposed.
“We’re actually a smaller team overall at most positions so we got beat at the board a little bit, but I thought the kids played hard this game,” said Bishop.
“Without Justin, it hurts us a little bit … just on the inside, he’s just a presence shot-blocking and taking some shots.”
Wesley was one of three starters making their return to the team after lengthy absences due to injury. His left ankle forced the athlete to miss some time while Kyler Reece and Perry Terrell also came back from previous ailments.
Grant Moody hit five three-pointers to finish with 15 points, Jaylund Russ put up nine points and Kostan Lewis had 10 for Queen Charlotte.
Masocol led the way for Charles Hays with 24 points in the three quarters he played while Wesley sunk 18 points, Terrell had 10 and Nicolis Campbell notched eight.
Five straight points to start the fourth quarter gave the Saints their 56-51 lead that they would never relinquish.
Wesley and Masocol did an admirable job pulling the team close, but Barnes and his supporting cast were just too much for the squad on that morning.