The No. 1-ranked St. Michaels University Blue Jags were bound and determined not to let the B.C. High School Basketball Boys AA Championships slip through their fingers again.
The Blue Jags won the title on Saturday (March 14) by defeating the No. 11 seed Delview Raiders 66-40 at the Langley Events Centre. It ended a surprise provincial run by the Delta squad, and captured the title for St. Mikes after losing it to their Saanich rivals, the Lambrick Park Lions, in 2014.
Two days later, it still felt good, said Jason Scully, one of two Blue Jags committed to the UVic Vikes for September.
“This time last year I remember I wasn’t feeling this good, which makes it all that much better to close it out, we’re all super excited about the win,” he said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these boys,” said head coach Ian Hyde-Lay on the Langley Events Centre website. “That’s a great team over there in Delview but we battled hard and our defence really stepped up.”
All season long St. Mikes played like they were at another level, going 10-1 in the Lower Island regular season, against the Tier 1 competition including much larger schools, the Oak Bay Bays (11-0), Lambrick Park (8-4), Mount Douglas (4-8), Claremont (3-9) and Spectrum (1-11).
“We knew if we were able to play our game we had a shot at winning provincials,” Scully said. “We had a chance to win every single game we were in this year against some strong 4A schools and Oak Bay, who went into their provincials with the No. 1 rank, and we know we can play with them.”
The Jags’ season mantra centred on a strong commitment to defence. Execute it, and the offence will come from there, Scully said.
The Jags blasted their AA competition at Islands, beating Ladysmith by 29, Brentwood by 42 in the semifinal and Kwalikum by 37 in the final. Provincials was similar, as the Jags made sure to eliminate No. 1-seed Mt. Elizabeth in the opener, 95-28, then edged G.W. Graham by 26 points in Game 2, and doubled Collingwood 67-34 in the semifinal.
Despite facing some easier competition at times, it was important St. Mikes never let up, said Scully.
“The opening game (versus Mount Elizabeth) we had a big advantage and we used the bench a lot, but in the quarterfinals and semifinals, we were ready to play. Delview came in as the 11 seed but we knew they were dangerous, we knew they had firepower and we had to play well to beat them.”
It was also no secret that Delview’s attack revolved around guard Wowie Untalan, who had scored 15 points and 20 assists in the semifinals, while providing Delview’s late-game heroics by scoring five points in the final 10 seconds to defeat Southridge 81-79.
“Our plan was focused on (Untalan), it put the pressure on his teammates and thankfully we kept him from having a big game.”
Scully had 22 points in the final and Graeme Hyde-Lay, the other Blue Jag headed to UVic this year, had 16.
Thanks to the Vikes the duo will remain in town, while others will move on but with rugby and soccer. The Blug Jags also won the B.C. high school boys AA soccer crown this year, and on Sunday, six of the Jags winners, with coach Hyde-Lay, jumped on a plain to Spain to join the St. Mikes rugby team for its spring tour against Spanish and Portuguese school teams.
It was the second straight year Scully (photo inset at right, by Gary Ahuja/Black Press) was named a first team all-star, joined this year by and guard Jake Wilmott, while Scully also earned the championship player of the game award. Blue Jags’ guard Graeme Hyde-Lay was named tournament MVP, Max Pollen was named best defensive player, and Hyde-Lay won the tournament’s Ken Wright Coaching Award.
Lambrick Park lost to Clarence Fulton in the opener but rebounded with a 81-54 win over Nechako and 77-66 in over Golden, but lost by one point, 70-69 to Bodwell of North Vancouver, in their final match.