PORT COQUITLAM — The Oak Bay Bays might be a darn good basketball team, but that doesn’t mean they don’t try and stick by a strict budget.
And so that means when they can catch the last ferry and get back to their Victoria digs on the same night they wrap up playing at invitational tournaments on the Lower Mainland, it’s always the preference.
Terry Fox’s 29th annual Legal Beagle Invitational in Port Coquitlam doesn’t offer that opportunity, but when you accomplish what the Bays did Saturday night, winning one of the province’s toughest and most prestigious events, it’s a lot easier to go out on the town with the metre still running.
The No. 1 Bays, led by a three-headed back-court which combined for 61 points, cruised to a 95-57 win over Surrey’s No. 9-ranked Semiahmoo Totems in the title tilt.
“The last time we played in the final, it was when Kelowna was No. 1,” remembered Oak Bay head coach Chris Franklin of the 2016 Beagle final. “We were ranked No. 2, they were ranked No. 1 and they showed us why. It was a tough to spend an extra night in the city that year, and expensive. Tonight won’t seem as expensive.”
The Bays, whose only loss this season has come at the hands of AA No. 1 powerhouse Brentwood College, opened the second quarter on a 14-2 run and never looked back the rest of the night.
Diego Maffia, the three-point shooting ace, was at his best, hitting five treys, while reminding everyone that he also had a great floor game. Maffia finished with a game-high 27 points en route to being named tournament MVP.
“Everyone is coming at us,” admitted Oak Bay guard Caelan Scott, who added 20 points in the win. “They know we’re No. 1 and they are coming at us. But we’re standing our ground and playing hard.”
Besides Maffi and Scott, guard Valdi Alarie-Hill added 14 in addition to the kind of second-level effort at the other end of the floor which netted him Top Defensive Player honours.
“We’re fortunate beyond Diego and Caelan, to have Valdi, Tyler (Hills) and Freeman (Taylor),” said Franklin of the team’s main guard rotation. “They come in and you don’t notice a drop off. They all play great defence, move the ball and stay aggressive.”
But Franklin also thought the mobility of his forwards has helped contribute to an environment were jump-shooting opportunities are consistently being manufactured.
“Out players like to run and (forwards) like Cam (Henderson) and Riley (Cronk), they are good athletes and when they run like they do, they suck (defenders) in and help our guards get a lot of corner threes.”
The Totems, unable to respond to the Bays’ early outbreak, were led by the 25 points of big man Adam Paige, while teammate Dominic Calderon, later presented the tournament’s prestigious Terry Fox Award, added 10.
“They are playing really well right now,” Totems’ head coach Ed Lefurgy said of Oak Bay. “They play a lot, they play hard and they have a lot of experience. We’ve already improved a ton this season and there is a lot more growth to be had.”
James Woods of Walnut Grove, Paige and Vlad Mihaila of Semiahmoo, and Kronk and Scott of the Bays were chosen to first all-star team.
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