RYAN Bishop was a part of the 1998 Prince Rupert Rainmakers provincial title as a Grade 10 call-up and had graduated the year before when the team won it all again in 2001.
But he has been an integral part of the third 2A provincial basketball title in program history as the Charles Hays Rainmakers (the school changed its name) as co-coach alongside his father, Mel, who was also behind the bench for the previous two titles.
The Rainmakers capped off a dominating run at the BC Boys Basketball Provincial Championships 2A Tournament with a 78-51 victory over Lake Country’s George Elliot Coyotes on Saturday afternoon at Langley Events Centre.
“It’s nice to be a part of an actual one. I consider this my first provincial title,” Bishop smiled.
Charles Hays, the top seed entering the tournament, won their four games by an average of 32 points.
The Rainmakers struck early and often, never trailing and leading for all but 59 seconds of the 40-minute game. And while offences tend to get accolades when a team is winning, it was the Rainmakers defence that was the difference maker.
“We D’ed up, that was the deciding factor,” Bishop said. “We have stressed that all year. Physically we have been very strong on the defensive end and we take pride in that.”
The Coyotes entered the game with 88, 91 and 85-point performances in their first three games with their three-point arsenal a significant factor in their success, hitting a combined 41 shots from beyond the arc, which is nearly half their offensive output.
“They took the line away from us,” lamented George Elliot coach Dave Lafontaine. “But you have to hit the shots.”
The Coyotes scored just eight points in the first quarter and were down 39-18 at the half. They finished shooting at just 20 per cent, including 4-for-43 (9.3 per cent) from beyond the arc.
“But to get to this point and know we competed against an excellent team – the Bishops are legends in Prince Rupert, they do an outstanding job – they knew what we were going to do on the court.”
While their opponent struggled to sink their shots, the Rainmakers offence had no such problem as the trio of Liam McChesney (25 points, 13 rebounds), Kai Leighton (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Eric Lees (14 points, five rebounds) led their team. Lees was named the Championship Player of the Game while McChesney (who is off to Utah State after graduation) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The Coyotes were led by 19 points from Ben Hitchens and 10 from Nic Lafontaine.
Charles Hays was coming off a tough semifinal game the night before, as they battled the Sa-Hali Sabres in a back-and-forth game, finally emerging with the 74-66 victory. Bishop said the game was a great way for the team to mentally sharpen themselves after a long stretch of inactivity with no game action prior to provincials in more than three weeks meaning their starters hadn’t played 30+ minutes in quite some time.
In the third-place game, Abbotsford Christian defeated Langley Christian 69-66.
Sa-Hali’s Jayden Smith was named the Best Defensive Player and the Elphinstone Cougars (Gibsons) were the Most Sportsmanlike Team.
For full results, visit www.bchighschoolbasketballchampionships.com/2aboys/
First Team All-Stars Second Team All-Stars
Asher Mayan (Langley Christian) Zac Meinen (Abbotsford Christian)
Kalem Wilson (Sa-Hali) Carsen Day (Westsyde)
Cameron Sale (D.P. Todd) Joshua Kagande (Britannia)
Nic Lafontaine (George Elliot) Tristan Kuhn (St. Michaels University School)
Kai Leighton (Charles Hays) Ben Hitchens (George Elliot)