Oak Bay shoots for Island crowns

All four of Oak Bay High's basketball teams will compete in the Island championships

Oak Bay’s Molly McKenna blocks a shot by Parklands’ Olivia Erfle during the South Island Junior Girls basketball final.

Oak Bay’s Molly McKenna blocks a shot by Parklands’ Olivia Erfle during the South Island Junior Girls basketball final.

All four of Oak Bay’s basketball teams are battling for a chance to capture their respective Vancouver Island crown.

Oak Bay’s senior girls knocked off Claremont 78-41 to win the Lower Island championships.

“The girls played really solid from start to finish, it was one of the best games we’ve had as far as putting four quarters together,” said Oak Bay coach Rob Kinnear.

“We were missing Sophie de Goede, one of our better players, and we had some kids step up and fill the role beautifully.”

Kinnear singled out the play of Leigha Russell, getting one of her first starts of the season and finishing the game with 21 points.

Lauren Yearwood led the Breakers with 22 points, while Morgan Roskelley chipped in 10 points and seven assists.

“If you are going to play your best ball you want it to be in February or March,” said Kinnear. “That’s kind of been our goal all year, to keep improving and try to peak when it counts come playoff time.”

The Breakers can put that to the test this weekend as they head to Port Alberni for the Island championships.

“It means nothing if we don’t take advantage of the opportunities provided by that this weekend at Islands,” said Kinnear, who hopes to see the Breakers continue improving with each game.

“We just need to keep focusing on the process and let the results take care of themselves.”

Oak Bay’s senior boys opened the South Island championships with a 90-38 win over Claremont Tuesday night.

“To begin with, it was a pretty close game for most of the first half,” said Oak Bay coach Chris Franklin.

He said the Bays hit a couple of three-pointers in the final minutes of the first half and Oak Bay’s bench took over in the third quarter.

“We’ve got a really strong second group, that’s kind of the tale of the tape,” said Franklin.

Aoi Yamaguchi paced Oak Bay’s attack with 17 points.

The Bays played host to Belmont Thursday night in the South Island tourney but have already locked up a spot in the Island championships Feb. 26-28 at Mt. Douglas.

“It’s going to be interesting because up north they have a couple of teams with a lot of size, Vanier and Cowichan,” said Franklin. “There’s a very talented player, Josh Charles out of Cowichan, who just committed to UVic. So it will be pretty tough.”

Oak Bay holds down the No. 2 ranking in the province behind Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Ravens but Franklin said he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the ratings.

“It’s nice the boys played well when they were over there [Lower Mainland], I guess the ranking is just indicative of that,” he said.

Oak Bay’s junior girls stopped Parklands 77-59 to capture the South Island title.

Parklands was a really aggressive, jump-and-go team and a lot of the teams struggled against them so this was a really good challenge for us. Right off the bat we managed to break their press, which was huge for us,” said assistant coach Katie Hanson.

She pointed to the play of Grade 10 starter Fiona Headen as a key to the victory.

“She just completely controlled the game. She really created the majority of the plays we were able to work off of and she was just unstoppable.”

The win punches the junior girls’ ticket to the Island championships that go this weekend in Nanaimo.

“We’ve started to peak and it’s an absolutely perfect time to peak. We just have to go with what we’ve been doing,” said Hanson. “All of our 12 players have to be 100 per cent committed and ready to play at every opportunity.”

Oak Bay’s junior boys dropped a close one to St. Michael’s University at last weekend’s South Island championships.

“We played well,  but SMU certainly outplayed us,” said Oak Bay coach Jim Pomefroy. “We were down most of the game.”

SMU’s win avenged a pair of losses to Oak Bay earlier in the season.

“At this stage of the season, the teams are fairly well matched all the way through,” said Pomefroy.

Both Oak Bay and SMU move on to the Island championships at Brentwood College, with Oak Bay opening Thursday against Dover Bay.

“All the games should be very competitive,” said Pomefroy.

 

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