Liam McChesney (13) and the BC Basketball team placed ninth at the U-15 nationals.

Liam McChesney (13) and the BC Basketball team placed ninth at the U-15 nationals.

Rupert’s hoops star McChesney impresses at nationals

Liam McChesney’s summer with Basketball BC has come to an end but not without some high-level experience.

Liam McChesney’s summer with Basketball BC has come to an end.

But not without some major, high-level experience against teams in Canada and the U.S.

This past week, McChesney wrapped up his North American tour with the BC Basketball under-15 provincial team with a trip to nationals in Winnipeg from July 31 to Aug. 7.

While the team didn’t quite show as well as their under-17 counterparts who won bronze in a heated match against host Manitoba, the under-15 boys gained valuable experience in a ninth-place finish (out of 11 teams) at the University of Winnipeg-hosted national championship.

BC under-15 coach Kyle Graves was impressed with McChesney’s development.

“Liam has worked hard on his three-point shot, which showed in games throughout the summer. He also improved as a leader, being vocal when needed with teammates,” Graves said last week, adding the six-foot-five athlete plays the four position as a forward that can shoot from the outside and post up smaller players.

In Round One, Team BC got off to a torrid start, beating Team Territories 106-48 on Aug. 1. McChesney, wearing No. 13, scored 13 points (the second-highest total on the team) and had a tremendous shooting percentage, while playing just over 19 minutes in the game. He also notched six rebounds in the contest.

That win pitted BC against Newfoundland the next day in Round 2. The boys fell in a close affair 68-60 with the east-coasters. McChesney played 25:29 and notched nine points and eight rebounds.

“Liam was a player I could count on to play big minutes and score the baskets which we needed on this team. He did a great job considering he is coming from a small school, so his potential as he continues to learn how to play the game, is very high,” Graves said.

With a 1-1 record, McChesney and Team BC faced off in their first playoff game against the host squad, Team Manitoba.

After another tightly-fought matchup, the west coast boys fell in another heartbreaker 60-56 to Manitoba. This time, the Rupertite played a staggering 29:10 and scored 11 points and two rebounds.

That loss pitted BC against Prince Edward Island, where the boys redeemed their previous two losses with a win against Team PEI, 86-59. The Charles Hays Secondary student scored 10 points and put up six rebounds on Aug. 4.

In their final match of the tourney on Aug. 5, McChesney and the boys in orange and blue had a rematch against the Territories, and the result was the same – an 83-29 crushing of BC’s neighbours up  north. The Rupertite had a more subdued match and played 15:12 and scored two points and had two rebounds.

The squad from B.C. finished ninth in the tournament, and some members will continue on and return in the summer of 2017 to take part in the under-16 program.

“Liam has a chance to form a very good front-court at his next national championship in two years (under-17) with six-foot-eight Giovanni Manu and six-foot-seven Victor Radojac. Those three players could help lead BC to a very high finish in two years if they continue to develop,” his coach said last week.

Prior to nationals, the team took part in the NCAA-sanctioned Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic in Nevada from July 20 – 25.

There, the boys took part in the 15U Boys Division Silver Championship bracket after playing in a tough pool with competing teams California United, Houston Rockstarz Smith (Texas) and Boise Slam (Idaho).

The team lost 67-30 to United, 52-27 to Rockstarz Smith and 49-39 to Boise Slam in pool play.

In the silver championship bracket, Basketball BC claimed their first win in the first round of the playoffs over Wethers Elite White (California), but fell in the second round to EBC Blue (Washington).

The Portland Basketball Club won the silver championship.

 

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