With tears in their eyes, Ucluelet’s senior boys basketball team threw in the towel on a fine season after losing 59-47 to Gold River on Feb. 24 in front of a hometown crowd at the USS gymnasium.
The loss means they won’t be heading to BC Championships. Only the top three teams in the Vancouver Island Championships qualify, and Ucluelet finished fourth.
“It’s not the way I wanted it to end,” said number 22 Isiah David who was named one of six First Team All-Stars over the weekend. “We could’ve gone further but all in all this is definitely my best season.”
Team manager Jason Sam said the Warriors just didn’t come up big when they needed to.
“We’re disappointed. You just gotta play your best at all times in this kind of level of play and the two teams that came first and second I think played their best every single minute,” he said.
The Warriors were looking on point after dominating Chemainus 92-49 at Thursday’s tournament opener.
But Friday’s nail-biter against St. Andrew’s bumped them into the consolation draw after losing 59-56.
A 59-47 win against Nanaimo Christian would put them in the consolation final against Gold River.
Gold River head coach Stephen Larre said the game could have gone either way.
“We beat a really, really tough Ucluelet team,” said Larre. “There were no surprises in that game. I told everybody going in that it would be a 50-50 coin flip between those two teams.”
Larre said it was hitting their free throws down the stretch that made the difference this time around.
Gold River team captain Tyler Gedlaman, grade 11, was excited to see his team pull through.
“We just stepped it up and kept the intensity going all game,” he told the Westerly.
“It’s interesting because they’ve beat us three times in our home gym and we’ve never beat them. Now we’ve beat them twice here [in Ucluelet],” said Gedlaman.
The Glenlyon Gryphon’s out of Victoria took home the Vancouver Island Championship trophy after defeating the St. Andrews Sabres 63-56.
Chris Graham, Gryphon’s player number five, was named tournament MVP.
“We played St. Andrew’s twice before. We won one and we lost one. Today was just, we came out really hard in the first, they tried really hard and came back, but in the end we prevailed for the victory,” said Graham.
And in keeping with basketball tradition after a big win, Glenlyon was allowed to cut down one of Ucluelet’s basketball nets and take it home as a souvenir.
“We get to bring the net back to our school and hang it in our trophy case,” said Graham.
VANCOUVER ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIPS: Complete tournament results