Are the Elphinstone senior boys catching fire at the right time? That would appear to be the case after the Cougars compiled a 4-1 week with one game to go before the North Shore League playoffs start next week.
Elphi smoked Seycove 71-29 on Jan. 28 to move to 4-1 in league play.
Coach Mike Sopow said it was a good game all around.
Elphi hit the road on the weekend to Mill Bay for a 16-team tournament co-hosted by Brentwood College and Shawnigan Lake. The Cougars came third out of 16 teams.
Elphi opened with a 74-61 win over Reynolds, building a 30-point lead at one stage.
Game two was against Brentwood College and was a 70-44 win for the Cougars.
“This was the best defensive effort we had seen from our team,” said Sopow. “We had great help side rotations, lots of communication, and guys were boxing out well and going after rebounds. Nate Haglund had an outstanding game at both ends of the floor. Defensively he shutdown their best player, which really took them out of the game.”
In game three on Saturday, Elphi locked up with St. Michael’s University School (SMUS), the number one ranked team in the province. Elphi played hard, losing 68-47.
“They play tough defensively and really make you have to work for every basket,” said Sopow. “It was a really tight game, but SMUS is so deep that they started to pull away at the end of the third quarter, when we started to get tired. They are able to just roll guys over because of their deep bench and play at a very high intensity for 40 minutes. They beat Lambrick Park in the final by doing the same thing they did to us, outlasting them.”
Elphi battled through a lot of adversity and pulled out an impressive 90-88 overtime win over Mount Douglas to finish third overall.
“After four games and a tough loss our guys came out looking tired and ended up having to battle back from a fourth quarter 10-point deficit to push the game to overtime,” he said. “Nolan Lewarne had the TSN turning point when he took a defensive charge and then knocked down a three at the other end to start the comeback. Axel Loitz finished the comeback when he hit a lay-up at the end of the fourth to tie the game. In overtime we had all the momentum and knew it was our game to win.”
The Elphi bantam boys finished the regular season with a 5-2 record following wins over Mulgrave, 31-24, Rockridge 43-41 and a 37-34 los to Seycove.
The Cougars opened the playoffs on Monday beating West Vancouver 45-33. The win moved Elphi to the division one semifinal against Seycove, which was played Wednesday night.
The Elphi juvenile boys season is over following a tough 54-47 loss to Carson Graham in the first round of the playoffs Monday night.
The Chatelech juvenile boys beat Pender Harbour 51-35 on Jan. 30.
The Chatelech junior boys picked up their first league win of the season on Jan. 27 with a 41-40 decision over Rockridge, and followed that up with a 42-40 win over Elphi on Feb. 4.
Elphi dropped a 51-40 decision to Seycove on Jan. 28 and a 61-27 decision to West Vancouver on Jan. 30.
The Pender Harbour senior girls and grade 7-9 boys team travelled to Powell River on Feb. 4 and came away with two wins against Brooks Secondary School.
The senior girls won 35-18 with Dani Pazur scoring 13, Nadine Jay-Reid with 10 and Jade Storoschuk and Kim Fielding with four points each.
The boys team won 40-39 in a game that was close the whole way.
Jordan Kammerle led the scoring with 17 points while Jordan Haines and Cameron Biddulf had eight points each.
Brooks travelled to Pender yesterday (Feb. 6) for return matches.