It took a couple of nail biters and a come-from-behind effort along the way for the Sooke Basketball Club to earn its first-ever title at the Vikes Nation Shootout.
The tournament, held at the University of Victoria June 2 to 4, regularly includes more than 100 teams competing in brackets from U9 to U18, with the Sooke Basketball Club prevailing in the U14 category.
Sooke opened the tournament against the U14 Bay Elite team in a game that went to double overtime, with a sudden death score off an inbound pass sealing the deal in a 39-37 win.
The second game against Vancouver’s biggest club, 3D, was decided on the last play of the game, with Sooke prevailing 39-38.
“That gave us a 2-0 record in our pool and we advanced to the finals against Victoria Flight Academy,” said head coach Trevor Bligh said.
“Flight stayed in a 1-3- zone the whole game and took an early lead, but we made some adjustments and started breaking down the zone with passes, cuts, and beating it down the floor with speed.”
Sooke tied the game on a three-pointer by Parker Bligh with three minutes left and never looked back. Brody Sutherland, Waylon Johnson, Luke Hoffman, Duncan Malcolm, and Riley Smith made key layups and controlled rebounds in a 45-42 victory.
Amir Barzkar, Cayden Vartanov, Mateo Hills, Dyal Ekk, Oscar Whobson and Joey McWhirter rounded out the team effort.
“Some of these guys have been playing together since the second grade and have great chemistry,” Bligh said.
Bligh is the sole owner/operator of the Sooke Basketball Club, which was formed in 1999 to provide U17 players with an opportunity to play during the spring and summer. It has expanded to include development and introduction to basketball and summer camps for a variety of ages starting at grades 2, 3 and 4.