The up and down season for the Elphinstone senior boys continued Tuesday night with a close 76-72 loss to the Howe Sound Sounders in Gibsons.
The game went back and forth with several lead changes with the final five minutes of the game a flurry of action with teams trading threes, stepping up defensively and trying to draw fouls to preserve time on the clock.
The Cougars cut Howe Sound's lead to 69-68 with 1:20 to play, but that was the closest they got.
Nate Haglund led the way for Elphi with 20 points, Nolan Lewarne had 15 while Kevin Ravina and TJ Turenne each scored 14.
With the loss, Elphi dropped to 3-4 in league play while Howe Sound improved to 5-1.
"It's a tough loss, but Howe Sound is one of the top teams in the league. They have some good shooters and they were hitting them most of the night," said Elphi head coach Mike Sopow. "We had a tough time rebounding and that killed us. Anytime they did miss they were getting a lot of second chance opportunities off those and putting them in. We were right in this game. If we get out on their shooters and rebound better - we do those two things and we probably win.
"The guys fought hard though and made a little run at the end. Nolan Lewarne was strong all night, Axel Loitz really stepped up and played some great defence, and Nate and TJ always do their thing. So the guys shouldn't hang their heads - it was a good game."
Last weekend, Elphi finished third at the Collingwood tournament with strong play throughout with a limited bench.
Elphi beat New Westminster, a tough AAA school, 83-79. They then played Kelowna Christian, ranked in the top five in the province, and Elphi was outmatched for most of the game.
Elphi played Archbishop Carney in the third/fourth place game and won by 10.
"Again, short numbers with six guys, but we did what we had to. We got one of their big guys in foul trouble and we had some guys who normally get limited minutes forced to step up to play major minutes and they played really well," Sopow said. "Guys like Dylan Nemeth and Henry Telfer really played well. We stepped up the intensity and that's the way we have to play to be successful."
Elphi played an exhibition game Thurs-day night against McRoberts and plays St. Thomas Aquinas in its last league game Feb. 12 before the playoffs start Feb. 14.
Following the senior boys game, the senior girls took to the floor in a Coast-rivalry game between Elphinstone and Chatelech.
Elphi played probably their best game of the year in an 87-42 win.
Head coach Lynn Moran said she had a full team effort and utilized her whole bench, something she hasn't had the chance to do many times this season.
Ali Blattler and Ellen Fallis both had strong games, as did Renat McLean who had a season-high 20 points.
"Ali and Ellen are always our go-to players, but Ali has really been really playing well, especially the last four games," said Moran.
Elphi improved to 2-6 in league play and were off to Seycove Wednesday night for their last game of the season.
Elphi won't make the playoffs this year, but Moran said she was still pretty happy with the season.
"We have a young and inexperienced team, but they all improved throughout the season and that's all you can ask for," she said. "We lost a lot of close games and that's the difference. We did play in two tournaments in Vancouver and finished third in both, so there is a lot of potential for next season."
With the loss, Chat dropped to 0-7 on the year and were off to Rockridge for their last game Thursday and were set to play Pemberton in an exhibition game Friday.
"Our shots just were not dropping and no finish," said Chat coach Ellen Thomas "That's really been our season in a nutshell. We have a young team, so you just have to hope for the improvement and hope for better things next year."
© Coast Reporter