The Highland Raiders senior boys basketball team finished their season with some of their best games at the North Islands last weekend.
They began by losing to #1 seed and #6 provincially ranked Wellington. Trenton Cameron and James Jerczynski led the way with 16 points each. On Friday, the boys had a long delay before the game after a Ladysmith player shattered the backboard dunking in warm-up.
The pre-game dunk did not intimidate the Raiders. The small team of seven guys came out strong, shooting lights out in the first quarter. Grade 12 Braydon Cochrane nailed a three-pointer in the opening minute and the boys were all hot all quarter. Cameron and Sam Lewis added two treys each and Alec Molander was as tenacious as usual, dragging down rebounds and driving to the hoop.
The first quarter ended with Highland up 31-12. Throughout the second and third Aaron Simmons played strong in the paint and popped in six points and a free throw. Jared Collin was really effective in his drives, getting to the line four times in the third.
Cochrane and Lewis kept the threes coming in the third and fourth quarters. All the Raiders hit the scoreboard, led by seniors Cochrane (12) and Jerczynski (19).
Jerczynski was a force. He controlled the paint and dominated the rebounds on both ends, leading the Raiders to one of the best games of their season and defeating Ladysmith 68- 49. Jerczynski continued this trend in each game the Raiders played.
Game three saw Highland up against a strong Woodlands team who had previously beat the Raiders by 20. Highland came out battling again and Cameron put on a three-point clinic with 21 points on five treys. Jerczynski was a force again under the boards and came away with 19 of his own. In the end it came down to the wire and Woodlands took the win 67-60. Woodlands went on to take third in the tournament.
The Raiders then took on Ballenas. They started the first quarter with a 12-point deficit but coach Gord Orr regrouped the boys and they were soon back in the game. Highland made use of the Ballenas zone defence by taking advantage of the three-point shooting power on their team.
Lewis led with five threes. Cameron put in another four treys and Colllin canned a couple as well. Jerczynski, Molander and Simmons were tough on boards and battled the Ballenas bigs. Molander made some unstoppable moves to score in the paint and Simmonds crashed boards and made a fantastic steal and a coast-to-coast drive to the hoop to score.
The boys were down to six players when Cochrane had to sit due to a hamstring injury. This small group played with much heart and a whole lot of talent but came up short to qualify for Islands this year, placing sixth overall. The AA pool is very strong this year, with five of the Island AA teams in the B.C. top 10.
“The Raiders’ players and parents would really like to thank coach Gord Orr for all of his time and expertise over this basketball season,” a team spokesperson said.
– Highland Raiders Basketball