The Carihi Senior Boys Basketball team travelled to the Island Championship in Victoria to battle the top teams in AAA basketball for a chance to go to Langley and play in the Provincial Championships March 8-11.
Game One matched up Carihi against Victoria’s No.2 ranked Reynolds, a strong, quick team with an agile six foot six inch centre who dominated under the hoop with his shot blocking and strong rebounding. He helped limit Carihi’s scoring in the first half to only 19 points, although Carihi’s senior guard, Sonny Hung, scored seven first half points and had five steals to keep the Tyees within striking distance. The Tyees continued to struggle in the second half. They found themselves down by thirteen with only seven minutes left to play before Jonah Shankar rattled off eight straight unanswered points and suddenly all the pressure fell on Reynolds. Gurjot Mann played an inspired fourth quarter, adding six points and three rebounds to get the Tyees within three points with only two minutes to play, and Mason Osterhout-Code hit the all important go ahead free-throws with only one minute remaining. Quin Nelson sealed the comeback with two more free-throws in the final seconds, making the final score 53-50. Jonah Shankar was Player of the Game with 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Carihi advanced to the semi-final, but faced the daunting Nanaimo Islanders, the No.1 team on the Island all season long and the No. 5 ranked team in the province. The game was a repeat of a week earlier in the North Island semi-final, and Nanaimo dominated from start to finish, winning 66-34. The only bright spot was the play of Carihi’s Jared Perras who finished with nine points and six rebounds and was named Carihi’s Player of the Game.
Losing to Nanaimo forced Carihi into a Saturday morning do-or-die battle with Victoria’s Mount Douglas Rams. Winner goes to provincials, loser goes home. Carihi got the start they wanted and dominated the first half, taking a 16 point lead into halftime. With a berth in the Provincial Championships on the line, Mt. Douglas came out strong in the second half and quickly closed the gap to nine points early in the third quarter, before a strong defensive effort, led by six foot five inch centre Hunter Korol, kept the Rams to only 13 points in the fourth quarter, sealing a 61-47 Carihi win. Top scorers were Jonah Shankar, 24 points, Connor Nast seven points, and Mason Osterhout-Code eight points and seven rebounds. Gurjot Mann had 13 rebounds and four steals. Hunter Korol was Player of the Game with 13 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocked shots.
The battle for third and fourth on the Island pitted Carihi against their biggest rivals, Courtenay’s Isfeld Ice.
A perennial basketball powerhouse in local basketball, the Ice came out strong and established an early lead that they would never relinquish. Quin Nelson, who has been recovering from an early season ankle injury, began to show some fine form and finished with 11 points, four rebounds, three steals and was Player of the Game.
Hunter Korol added 12 points and was later named to the second All Star Team.
Although the Tyees went down to defeat 65-44 and finished fourth in the Island Championship, they earned Carihi’s first berth in the Senior Boys Provincial Basketball Championships in over 20 years.