The Isfeld Ice senior boys basketball team, with coach Tom Elwood at the helm, enjoyed a very successful week.
Missing their starting forward Matt Bowen to an ankle injury, they started by winning their first league game of the year on Tuesday, outmatching Carihi from Campbell River 60-20. Then the boys went 3-0 this weekend, winning their home tournament in convincing fashion.
Friday morning did not begin as planned as NDSS from Nanaimo phoned to cancel their participation in the tournament two hours before they were supposed to play Highland. Highland won the game by default and graciously agreed to practise for a couple of hours in preparation for the semifinals. Isfeld has a big roster of 14 players, so assembled a “B’ team which filled in on the back side of the draw, giving Carihi a good game and actually defeating ADSS from Alberni.
Isfeld’s first game of the tournament was against a scrappy Edward Milne team from Sooke. “The Isfeld shooters seemed to be experiencing some nerves about their home tournament opener and weren’t hitting the open shots that usually fall for them,” said Isfeld athletic director Colin Cunningham.
That allowed Edward Milne to hang around, 28-22 at halftime. The offence started clicking in the second half and Isfeld prevailed 67-51.
“Unselfishness and balanced scoring looks like the theme of this year’s team. Loaded with Grade 11s, the team can substitute all the way down the bench and not lose ground,” Cunningham said. Grade 11 point guard Ben Miller led the team on the defensive end and on offence with 16 points. Chase Hutchings had 10, Blake Playford and Joel Regehr had nine and Matt Sadler added eight points.
Game two put the Ice up against Duncan Christian, a solid single A school that demolished Alberni District Secondary (traditionally a strong AAA school) in their first-round game. Cunningham said Isfeld’s swarming man-to-man defence was the key to victory in this game, holding DCS to just four first quarter points and 34 for the game, winning by 15. Senior post Glenn Snook led another balanced attack for the Ice with 12 points, Cody Wangler had nine, Ben Miller, Joel Regehr, Ryan Snook and Blake Playford all had six points.
In the other semifinal, Highland battled hard with Cedar from Nanaimo, an Island top 10 AA team, eventually losing 82-76. “A team of only seven players, they all played hard and were in the game right until the end,” Cunningham said.
Noah Lewis led the Raiders with 23 points, Grade 10 Nick Tancon had 22 and James Jerczynck had 20. Highland then went on to defeat Duncan Christian 60-50 to finish the tourney in third place. Lewis again led the Raiders, this time with 25 points.
The stage was set for an Isfeld vs. Cedar tournament final. Coach Elwood had the team combine their two best attributes for the final game, balanced scoring and tough, swarming defence. The two teams battled in the first quarter, ending tied at 14-14.
The second quarter was the turning point as the Ice outscored the Spartans 23-9 for a 37-24 halftime lead. “It is looking like Isfeld’s depth will serve them well this year as many different players and combinations took the floor and kept their lead, for an eventual 57-54 victory,” Cunningham said. Blake Playford and Glenn Snook ended with 12 points each, Miller added nine, Matt Sadler, Joel Regehr and Grade 10 Richard Girard all chipped in with eight points each.
The Ice are set to play the Raiders in their next league game, date TBA. Next up for the Isfeld boys is the sixth annual Isfeld Basketball Alumni tournament versus all the Ice basketball players from years past. Last year the tournament raised $800 for a bursary which goes directly to a graduating senior. The Alumni tournament is set for Dec. 22 at 10 a.m., admission by donation.
– Isfeld Ice basketball