The Charles Hays Rainmakers were never expected to seriously challenge for the 2014 B.C. High School Boys AAA Basketball Championships against high-powered Lower Mainland contenders.
In fact, the pundits seeded them 14th. The Rainmakers, however, weren’t listening to the pundits.
After a fairy-tale run, the Rainmakers ended up battling Burnaby’s St. Thomas More Collegiate Knights Saturday evening in Langley for the provincial basketball title.
The Rainmakers were in the game early trailing by just two baskets, 15-11, after the first quarter but St. Thomas widened the lead taking a 31-24 advantage at the half.
St. Thomas More’s stingy defence came into play in the third as Burnaby held the Prince Rupert squad to just five points in the third taking a 42-29 lead.
In the fourth, again the Burnaby defence was too much for the Rainmakers as the Rupert boys fell 53-38 to pick up the silver at the provincial championship.
Justin McChesney led Charles Hays’ scoring in the final with 12 points, followed by John Sampson with 11 and Perry Terrell with nine.
At the end of the Cinderella run, McChesney was selected as a tournament first team all-star and Garrett Kobza was chosen as a second team all-star.
The 14th-seeded Rainmakers kicked off their run on Wednesday in a game against the third-seeded Fleetwood Park Dragons of Surrey.
The two teams set the tone for an exciting game early, finishing the first quarter tied at 18. The Rainmakers finished the second trailing by four by a score of 32-28, but in the third, went on a 12-7 run to hold a 40-39 lead at the half.
The Rainmakers completed the upset holding off the Dragons by a score of 52-51.
Kobza led Rupert with 15 points, Rosendo Masocol had 12 and McChesney with 11.
The Rainmakers then met sixth-seed Vernon Panthers and served early notice that the Rupert team was for real, shooting 66 per cent from three-point range to lead 22-6 at the end of the first. Vernon narrowed the gap in the second though, and trailed just 38-29 going into halftime. But the second half was all Prince Rupert as they pulled away to take the upset victory by a final score of 71-57. Masocol and John Sampson led the scoring for Charles Hays with 15 points each while Kobza put away 14 points.
The Rainmakers then took on the seventh-seed Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School from Courtenay.
After the first half, the Rainmakers trailed 43-45. But Charles Hays came back strong in the second half of the game, only allowing Courtenay nine points throughout the period and dropped 16 for themselves to bring the score to 59-54 by the end of the third quarter.
The Rainmakers shut down Courtenay the rest of the way securing their spot in the final with 73-65 victory. McChesney lead the Rainmakers’ scoring with 25 points, followed by Kobza with 19 and Sampson with 15.