The Charles Hays Secondary (CHSS) Rainmakers senior boys basketball team have won the Northwest Zones tournament, and will compete at the AAA B.C. provincial championships.
The qualifying tournament saw rival Caledonia and Charles Hays Secondary square off last Friday and Saturday.
In the first game, the Rainmakers defeated Caledonia 59-45 on Friday, with CHSS overcoming a first-quarter 14-12 deficit to take the victory.
The two teams met up again on Saturday, with the decisive victory for CHSS coming in a nail biter, 55-50.
Head coach Mel Bishop outlined the situation his Rainmakers found themselves in within enemy territory in Terrace.
“We are a AA-sized school, but we moved up to AAA. We played Caledonia, in a best-of-three games at their place,” said the coach.
“It was a battle, as it was 50-50 in the second game with two minutes left. We hit a couple shots late. [CHSS player] Skyler Wesley got a hoop going to the basket, and we had a big ‘and-1’. I think defensively over the weekend, we played quite well. Giving up 45 and 50 [points], those are low scores for high school basketball. We know each other (Caledonia Kermodes) so much, because we play each other so often from juniors on. It’s tough to score when everybody is so prepared.”
Justin McChesney took home tournament MVP, and all-stars from the Rainmakers included Wesley and Cole Marogna.
“I thought Terrace played very hard, they really competed, and defensively they might be the best team we play all year. They work very hard. They put a lot of pressure on the basketball. Terrace is a tough place to win. There’s a big crowd, and they play with a lot of emotion. The coach for them, Cam MacKay, I really respect,” added Bishop.
The draw for the Rainmakers at provincials in Langley will be televised online and take place on March 6, with the tournament beginning March 9.
Bishop provided some insight leading up to the tournament.
“The No. 1 ranked team from the island got knocked off and the third-ranked team from the Fraser Valley was knocked off as well. Come tournament time, teams get upset … We were ranked as high as fifth in the province [during the year], but as of now we are ranked eighth. We’ve had injury problems, but it’s good they happened early in the year. We are looking a little healthier now, so we can get a little fitter. It will be interesting to see which team we get,” said the coach. Last year, the ’Makers finished third at the highly-competitive tourney.