A single basket was all that separated first and second place in the Gary Taylor Classic basketball tournament last weekend.
And despite their best efforts host Oak Bay fell just two points short.
After handily beating Nanaimo’s Wellington in Thursday’s opening game, the Bays beat St. Michaels University School by about 15 points Friday. The win took Oak Bay’s senior squad to Saturday’s final against Calgary’s Sir Winston Churchill high school.
Despite leading for the first half, the home team fell short by one basket, finishing 69-71.
“Last year we beat them by one, this year they had us by two,” coach Chris Franklin said. “Sir WInston Churchill had a really good push at the end.”
Pleased with the tournament overall, “the whole weekend went really well, it was standing-room only every game,” he said.
While Oak Bay had some challenges rebounding against the tough Calgary team, “I thought we continued to show growth generally,” Frankin said. “It’s something we need to be mindful of and keep getting better at.”
The team entered the season ranked No. 4 and after rebounding from a tough opening weekend, is currently ranked No. 7 in the province.
Next on the calendar is the Dec. 28 to 30 Senior Boys Basketball Invitational, hosted by the Vikes Alumni and Passion Sports at UVic’s CARSA Performance Gym.
Franklin said the opportunity to bring high school basketball into the CARSA gym is exciting for the athletes and basketball fans.
In addition to three teams from Washington and the No. 1 ranked B.C. team, Walnut Grove, Oak Bay will be joined by SMUS and Lambrick Park for an exciting weekend of basketball.
“It’s really exciting. It’s great for us that we see this calibre of baskeball,” Franklin said. “Any time the kids get to test themselves against such high quality opposition, it helps them get better.”
Action begins on Dec. 28, with the first of four games tipping off at 3 p.m. In the opener, BC AAAA No. 1 Walnut Grove takes on Kitsap’s Kingston high school.
At 4:45 p.m., AA power Lambrick Park, led by twin snipers Austin and Calvin Somers, faces off against another Washington State visitor, Ballard high school.
On the other side of the draw, Washington’s Vashon Island high school returns to Victoria to take on Oak Bay at 6:30 p.m. with the Bays paced by provincial U17 star Jaden Touchie and a host of 6’5” front court men.
At 8:15 p.m., pre-season AA No. 1 SMUS returns most of last year’s provincial finalists, including guards Jamison Schulz-Franco and Ryan Hindson. Harry Ainlay high school, Alberta’s dominant AAAA team over the past decade, provides the opposition.
Daily admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students.