Well, now they’ve gone and done it.
They have accomplished what no other senior boys’ basketball team in Sooke had done.
That’s right: The EMCS Senior Boys’ basketball team won the City AAA Regular Season title.
“For the first time ever,” said Trevor Bligh, the team’s dedicated coach, was over the moon with pride in the players.
“On the evening of Tuesday, February 11, the Senior Boys’ secured the AAA regular season league title for the first time ever, with a 49-45 win over Pacific Christian, in their gym,” reported Bligh.
He provided the following details for their season’s finale, a nail-biting game.
The game started with EMCS on the defensive, as PCS started the first three minutes of the game with an 8-0 lead. EMCS rebounded with a 17-2 run, and finished the quarter with a four point lead, 20-16.
EMCS went on a 13-0 run in the second quarter, holding the pacers to just one basket, for a half time score of 33-18.
PCS started the third on a 14-2 run of their own, but EMCS maintained their lead with a narrow margin, of 36-40.
In the final quarter, PCS tied it at 43-43 with 3 minutes to play. This is where the Wolverine boys’ hard work and dedication shone. Sean Mckenzie went 1 for 2, and Fraser Campbell went 2 for 2 from the line. Brandon Willson secured the defensive rebound for the win, finishing the game with a narrow margin of 49-45 over PCS.
The first place leading scorers were Quinn Yates with 14 points and 14 rebounds, Sean Mckenzie with 15 points, and Fraser Campbell with 11. Scott Dickie and Brandon Willson combined for 11 points and 12 rebounds.
On the day of the win, Bligh was quick to post the win on Facebook.
“2014 AAA boys regular season champs!” he wrote, “First time in my 22 years with the program!! Credit to players…And my wife!!!”
Coaching at EMCS since 1996, this group of players has been with Bligh since they were first dribbling in Grade nine. While he has impacted their skills with training and practice, Bligh is quick to put the success at the feet of the players themselves.
“To what do the boys owe their success? Hard work,” Bligh responded to an inquiry. “Hard work, and the level of respect that they have for each other. They actually restrain from personal goals and strive for team success.”
Grade 12 player Quinn Yates echoes the camaraderie the players have, saying that his passion for the game is largely driven by “the camaraderie that comes along with spending so much time with the same group of people both on and off the court. I’ve never played high school basketball with such a close group of guys.”
Balancing school and the dedication required to become a basketball contender requires a unique skill set. Hard work, says Yates, adding that “the only people that can understand the amount of effort it takes to balance the two, are the people that go through it themselves.”
While coach Bligh acknowledges his passion and years of dedication given over to coach (except for one year, he’s been coaching since 1996), he applauds the every-growing talent the EMCS senior boys bring to the court. “I do the same thing every year. That is a constant. The variable is the players.”
And what do the players bring to the court that contributed to their success this year? “There’s no easy way to become good,” reflects Yates,” it takes a large amount of dedication from both the coaches, trainers and players.”
In considering how far the players in the team have come along, Bligh reflects, “The team’s biggest growth to date is probably their ability to break full court pressure, and their control of emotions.”
What this last win means — which clinched their lead in winning the regular season — is that Sooke will play host to the city championships for the first time. Ever.
EMCS will face the Parklands on Friday February 21, at 7:30 p.m. in their EMCS home court.
The city finals will be the following night at 7:30 p.m.
The outcome of these games will determine seeding for the Vancouver Island championships in Nanaimo, that take place on the weekend of February 27 to March 1. EMCS has a guaranteed spot in the Island Championships, a ranking only achieved four times since 1989 (1994, 1998, 2002 and now, 2014). In the earlier four years, EMCS made the Islands as the fourth seed team. This year, they are guaranteed a minimum of fourth, with hopes and expectations to be first after this coming weekend.
The accomplishment of winning the regular season in first place will, hopes Yates, be repeated in the years that follow.
“I feel proud to be a part of the team that has done this for Edward Milne. I’m glad we’re the first (to win the seasonal),” reflects Yates, “but I have faith we won’t be the last.”
The Wolverines are hoping to pack the gym to capacity on Friday night, “Normally, the AAA boys charge at the gate,” said Bligh. “We will not.” This is the first time that the finals will be held in Sooke, and Bligh is hoping to pack the gym. To encourage attendance, the event will be free to all.
Come on out and cheer on the boys in their fabulous success this Friday. Win or lose, they are already Sooke champions.
Team members are
- Lucas Blatchford (6’1)
- Scott Dickie (6’8)
- Abe Lamontagne (6’4)
- Harry Leblanc (5’11)
- Charlie Richardson (6’0)
- Taylor Sulzen (6’2)
- Fraser Campbell (6’1)
- Sean Mckenzie (6’2)
- Jonah Phillip (6’0)
- Brad Tajano Smith (5’11)
- Brandon Willson (6’3)
- Austin Willson (6’5)
- Quinn Yates (6’4)
- Jon Zoey (5’7)
The teams supports are
- Head coach: Trevor Bligh
- Assistant and associate coaches: Kyle Percival, Chris Shankar and atthew Payne
- Manager: Peter Chlopan