Games overview: Top performances
Game one: EMCS vs Nanaimo, 64-55 (L)
The EMCS senior boy’s basketball team lost against the Nanaimo District Secondary School ( NDSS ) 64-55 in a hard fought game. EMCS’s star player Quinn Yates was battling the flu, but played well against another top-rated Vancouver Island product, #14, 6’5 Tyus Barfoot, who received Player of the Game designation for this game. Sean MacKenzie of EMCS also played a strong game offensively, and the game was only four points apart until late in the fourth quarter. EMCS showed determination and received excellent defensive play from Brandon Wilson who was rebounding and blocking shots for most of the game.
Game two: EMCS vs Stellys, 50-47 (W)
Both teams played well in this fast paced game. But Quinn Yates and Sean Mackenzie of EMCS proved to be too much for Stellys. Their great shooting, rebounding and playing like their lives were depending on it, which with a double knock out tournament with one loss going into this game 2 was true.EMCS held on to take the win. EMCS’s Lucus Blatchford, Jonah Philip and Fraser Campbell added some great 3-point shooting. Quinn Yates of EMCS won Player of the Game designation. Twins Austin and Brandon Wilson made a nice play under the rim for EMCS and were rewarded with 2 points.
Game 3: Reynolds vs EMCS 78-58 (L)
Reynolds and EMCS have played well against each other this season with a 2-2 record. But Reynolds came out hard and dominated early in the first quarter, with a 25-8 lead after 10 minutes. EMCS fought back and closed the gap through out the next two quarters but Reynolds took the win 77-58 after 40 minutes. Quinn Yates again played amazing basketball, but EMCS Grade 11 player Abe Lemontagne was playing his best basketball of the season, scoring and playing well against Reynolds high scoring offence. Sean Mackenzie, who had injured his leg in the second game, forced the play, and played with the intensity he was known for all season. Honorable mentions for EMCS in game three for their fourth quarter efforts were Jon Zen and Taylor Sulzen for their strong defensive resolve.
Submitted by Glenn Dickie
Commentary: Fifth on the Island, first in our hearts
Britt SantowskiSooke News Mirror
EMCS lost. Sort of.
Technically, if you look only at the scoreboard, the EMCS sr. boy’s basketball team did not make it to the top three in the Island Championships. The top three teams — Mark Isfeld (first), Wellington (second), and Nanaimo (third) — will go on to play in the BC Championships. EMCS played three games. They lost two games, and so, technically, they lost.
Still, they come home as champions.
Not because they came in first place in the regular season at the city level, even though they did. Not because they came in second in the City championships, even though they did. Not because they were the first EMCS team to ever achieve this level, even though they did.
No. Those things are all great and wonderful. But, contrary to Canada’s obsession with the Own-the-Podium medal count, these young men came home champions because they supported each other, through thick and thin, through the season, through the playoffs.
It is a special treat seeing a group as supportive of each other as these players.
In reflecting what he likes best about the game, Abe Lamontagne (#3) spoke to the unity of the team: “My teammates, they’re great this year and they always have great energy.”
Jonah Philip (#45) also spoke to the strength of the team. “Reaching such a peak for basketball at EMCS feels great! All the hard work we put in pays off and it’s really fun.” Jonah noted that for him, the greatest joy is in playing for a home crowd. “My best moment this year has to be just the home games when we have a good crowd and there is a great energy! Also when I assisted Abes crazy dunk — we’re a dynamic duo!”
To put that last comment into perspective, Abe Lamontagne’s favourite activity is “probably my first dunk on another player cause it always gets the crowd going and it gets my team fired up.” And, apparently, Jonah as well.
Taylor Sulzen (#22) captured the essence of many of the posts on the team’s Facebook page. “Overall my favourite part is the bonding with others that comes with the sport, being with 15 other guys up to seven days a week helps develop something strong. Most people call it a team; I call it a family.”
Given that their page is a private page, the gentle readers of this article are not privy to their comments. But rest assured that their posts reflect forward momentum, thoughtful reflection, and tremendous team support.
These young men demonstrate a type of leadership that is rare these days. It’s not the top-down style of leadership that bellows out, “Hey, listen to me, I’ve got the answer here.”
Rather, it’s a quieter, more subtle form. It’s leadership through support, through nurturing the strengths of all the players on the team, for the benefit of the whole.
It’s visible on the court. You see it when a player shoots a penalty shot and misses. He gets the genuine support of his team, the type that persistently looks forward at potential instead of backwards at regret. You see it when a referee makes a bad call (or a missed call), and the team moves forward with ease and momentum. You see it on the bench, as they cheer on their teammates on the court.
You also see it in how they respond to their head coach, Trevor Bligh.
Taylor Sulzen sums it up nicely. “Coach Bligh’s intentions were that we would not only learn to cherish our game time, but to be grateful for everything in life, as small as a hug or as big as a family. He continues to impress me in finding individual ways of teaching us lessons that we will hold on to for the rest of our lives, and I speak for the team when I say that he has given us the ride of our lives and we could never repay him for it. We will never forget the experiences we shared with our hardworking and loving family.”
The leadership that these young men hold is one that offers growth to those around them, that works hard to benefit the team. It is leading from within, leading from behind.
It is the quiet kind of leadership that produces champions. Like those that we have in our midst: our EMCS senior boys’ basketball team, the Wolverines.
And that excellent modeling of leadership is what gave them their big win this year.
Well played, team.