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Oak Bay chasing hoop dreams

School's senior boys snare the city crown while senior girls rule the Island

Oak Bay’s senior boys locked up the city high school basketball championships while the school’s senior girls laid claim to the Island title.

The Bays stopped Belmont 81-50 last week to win the city title.

“They played well, executed well. Belmont played pretty hard but the guys have been playing very well this year,” said coach Chris Franklin.

Liam Finnigan paced the Oak Bay attack in the final game with 25 points.

The Bays now advance to the Island Championships, being held at Mt. Douglas secondary Feb. 26-28.

“We need continued effort, continued concentration, just keep doing what we do,” said Franklin. “The team has had pretty good success keeping to what we’re good at: running, playing good defence and playing hard.”

Oak Bay cruised through the opening rounds of the senior girls Island championships, dismantling Belmont 73-23 and toppling Stelly’s 81-27. But the Breakers were pushed by Claremont in the final before pulling out a 64-44 win.

“Claremont played as well as I’ve seen them play and some of our main people got in foul trouble so it was just a two-point game at halftime,” said Breakers coach Rob Kinnear, who credited the team’s “perseverance” for the win.

Oak Bay’s Lauren Yearwood was named tournament MVP, while Morgan Roskelley and Sophie de Goede were named first-team all-stars. Andrea Psotka earned a spot on the second-team all-stars.

The hard-fought win in the Island finals is something Kinnear feels will serve them well when they open the provincial championships March 4 in Langley.

“Being challenged in the finals was great for the girls. You never want to breeze into the provincials, you want to be challenged and we were,” he said.

Oak Bay’s junior girls also finished on top of Island basketball.

After convincing wins over Wellington and Qualicum, Oak Bay knocked off Claremont 53-36 in the finals.

Assistant coach Katie Hanson said winning the city championships set up a favourable draw for Oak Bay to reach the finals against Claremont.

“We knew to be successful in that game we had to run our offence properly and really crash the boards for those offensive rebounds and not let them have any second chances,” said Hanson.

The junior girls now head to the provincial championships March 4-7 at the Langley Events Centre.

The junior boys fell just shy in a pair of attempts to earn a spot at the provincial championships.

Oak Bay opened the Island championships with a 70-58 win over Dover Bay before falling to eventual tournament winners Cowichan 48-47 in the semifinal.

“We had played them three times previously and we’ve beaten them twice,” said Oak Bay coach Jim Pomefroy. “We got down, we made a comeback, we had two or three open looks at the end of the game to win it but couldn’t finish it off.”

The loss dropped Oak Bay to the consolation side, where they needed a win over Brentwood College to earn one of the four Island spots at the provincials.

“We scored with seven seconds to go to go up by one,” said Pomefroy. “They came down and got a shot, missed, but were able to grab the rebound and we fouled them on the rebound. They went to the line with 0.2 seconds left on the clock and made two free throws.”

He said while it was disappointing to end the season with the 44-43 loss, the players still have a long future ahead of them with many moving on to the senior squad next year.