It was a disappointing end to a season full of inconsistency, but Gibsons’ Andrew Baron found his stroke on B.C.’s brightest stage.
Despite his Douglas College Royals getting ousted in the semifinals of last weekend’s PacWest provincial basketball championships in Victoria, Baron put the league on notice.
The second-year, 6-3 guard, a 2008 grad of Elphinstone Secondary School, put up 14 points in an opening-round victory over Capilano University, and a 15-point performance against league powerhouse Langara College, that went on to win the championship.
“It was extremely exciting,” said Baron. “And it was amplified this year. Last year when we went to provincials, I don’t think we had the same expectations as this year. So we really wanted to improve on that and actually make the finals and go to nationals.”
In the 103-71 semifinal loss to Langara, a juggernaut of a team that’s currently ranked second in Canada, Baron started the game by missing his first four shots. But in the third quarter, he caught fire and connected on five straight three-pointers, as well as finishing with five rebounds and three assists.
“It was bittersweet, because it was something I’ve been working towards for the past two years — going out there and contributing to the team instead of being looked past,” he said. “But that being said, our main goal was to qualify for nationals, and we didn’t really put out the effort that we needed to.”
Last season, at the start of his collegiate hoops career, Baron was brought off the bench sparingly and performed with mixed results. But towards the end of the 2011/12 campaign, he was playing a key sixth-man role, and showed flashes of his potential to become a major contribution for the Royals.
This season, with only three returning players, he was thrust into the role of starting point guard, and flourished towards the end of the year — culminating with his impressive showing at the provincials.
Next year, his responsibility and leadership role is expected to increase dramatically. Baron will likely be the only returning starter, and potentially the focal point of the Royals’ attack.
“The next couple of weeks I’m going to take some time off because I’ve been playing through serious injuries all season. But after I heal up, I’m going to start working hard again, train, and improve my game over the summer to develop into a better player,” he said.