Provincial-bound Warriors earn Island bronze

Ucluelet Secondary School’s Senior Boy’s Basketball team wrapped up their season this past weekend with a 3rd place finish at the “A” Island Zone Championships. This year’s event was hosted by Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria. The Warriors first opponent was against the St. Andrews Sabres from Victoria. USS came out firing from the opening tip off.

“It usually takes the boys a quarter to get their game legs after a long van ride down, “said Coach Kevin Nixon, “but they came out hard and really set the pace.”

By the end of the first quarter, USS was up 30-6 on the Sabres. The Warrior’s fast break was the key to the great start.

“This team has prided itself on its fast break all season. Riley Botting’s passing up court all weekend long was phenomenal,” said Nixon.

The team easily defeated St. Andrews 76-36. Top scorers included William Tom with 30 pts. Riley added 16 pts in addition to 14 assists. Leo Torres-Clark contributed 11 pts with Edwin Touchie adding 7 pts. Lyndon Clark and Jordan Fraser each had 4 pts followed by Mitch “Larry” Saunderson and Reid Appenheimer, with 2 pts.

After only a one game break, the Warriors were at it again against the #7 provincially-ranked Glenlyon Norfolk School Gryphons. In the first quarter, the Warriors were down early and had a tough time getting anything around the hoop on the offensive end of the court. Shooting against GNS’s 6’9″ starter Adam Darcie proved to be a challenge.

“We couldn’t get too much going early inside as Darcie was blocking or rebounding most of our attempts,” said Nixon.

After the first quarter, the team was down 28-13 with the Gryphons draining most of their attempts.

“It’s not the team wasn’t working hard on the defensive end of the court,” said Nixon.”Far from it. We just needed to shoot more from the outside.”

And shoot from the outside they did. In the second quarter, the team roared to life, spurred on by William Tom’s six 3-pointers. Torres-Clarks added a 3-point buzzerbeater to end the second quarter much to the delight of the many USS supporters in the stands.

38-37 GNS at the half.

“Riley was a workhorse for us on defensive throughout this game,” said Nixon. “He blocked Darcie a multitude of times as well as countless other Gryphons. “With the break, however, the Warriors seemed to cool down and the Gryphons started to heat up. USS found themselves down at the end of the third quarter 56-43.

“We just couldn’t find a good rhythm when the second half started,” said Nixon.

The team continued to battle GNS and outscored them in the fourth, however it was not enough. The Warriors fell 69-61.

“I was so proud of the whole team after that game. They played their hearts out,” said Nixon.

William Tom finished with a season high 34 pts. Torres-Clark added 12 pts. Botting had 8 pts and 12 blocks.

The Warriors final game was against Campbell River Christian Cougars, whom USS had played on several occasions this season.

Similar to the first game of the tournament, USS came out shooting, racking up 31 pts in the first quarter but also limiting CRCS to only 6 pts. William Tom sank five 3 pointers alone in the quarter. From that point on, the game was never in doubt for the Warriors.

“Our bench got an opportunity to get some solid floor team which was great,” said Nixon.”They’ve worked hard this year in practice and they love to play.”

USS ended the game with a 70-37 victory over the Cougars. Tom had 25 pts. Botting put in 18 pts with Torres-Clark adding 12 pts.

Botting and Tom were both selected to the All-Star Team for the tournament.

“I was so happy for Riley in particular getting this award,” said Nixon. “He’s worked so hard over the last few years to elevate his game and it has really paid off. He’s a tremendous athlete and a leader for our team and he will be sorely missed next year.”

Nixon also had high praise for Grade 10 player, William Tom.

“This young man has a such a smooth shot from outside. It’s a beautiful site to see,” said Nixon.

The future looks bright for next year’s team as many players will be returning. Congratulations! Warriors on a fantastic season!