Brentwood, Shawnigan Lake end on a positive note

Floor fall takes down Brentwood College’s Paul Lee, as Billy George of Gulf Islands tries to swat the ball back to a teammate.  - Don Bodger
Floor fall takes down Brentwood College’s Paul Lee, as Billy George of Gulf Islands tries to swat the ball back to a teammate.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Brentwood College and Shawnigan Lake senior boys’ basketball teams knew it would be tough to overtake powerhouses St. Michael’s University and Lambrick Park for the top two spots in the South Island AA championships at Brentwood College.

Lambrick Park did, in fact, grab top spot in the South with a 55-51 win over St. Michael’s in Saturday’s final. But Brentwood snatched the No. 3 spot and Shawnigan Lake No. 4 to move forward into Island playdowns at Lambrick Park Thursday through Saturday.

Brentwood took it on the chin from St. Michael’s 64-39 but then bounced back with a gritty 64-54 victory over Gulf Islands to place third.

Brentwood trailed Gulf Islands 32-25 at halftime and was still down by five, 47-42 after three quarters. It was 50-44 for Gulf Islands in the fourth after a three-pointer and things didn’t look good for Brentwood.

But the core of the team chipped away at the margin and pulled Brentwood through. Brentwood quickly went on a 9-0 run, with a basket from Aidan Carr, free throw from Woody Lee and two baskets from Devin Cvitanovich sandwiched around a Harrison Backer hoop to take the lead with six minutes left.

Brentwood still had a tight 53-51 advantage but built on it from there by going on another 7-0 run that put it away.

Cvitanovich finished with 16 points, Backer had 14, Lee 12 and Carr 10 while Sean Monteiro played incredible defence in the turnaround.

“At the end of the day, you want to survive and move on,’’ said Brentwood coach Blake Gage of the team’s topsy-turvy play that had him nervous at times.

“The guys moved the ball a lot better in the second half, first of all,’’ said Gage. “And if you look at our shot selections, we were getting good looks.’’

Shawnigan Lake picked its game up after losing to St. Michael’s 66-33. A convincing 70-38 victory over Vic High put Shawnigan into a challenge position with the fourth-place finisher and that game also ended on a positive note with a 56-51 win over Gulf Islands Monday at Brentwood.

“We had a good lead,’’ said Shawnigan coach Vito Pasquale of the decisive game. “They were missing one of their key players.’’

It was redemption for Shawnigan after losing twice previously to Gulf Islands this season.

Litha Ncanisa led a balanced Shawnigan attack with 14 points and 16 rebounds, Christian Grillo had 12, Emerson Chen 11 and Connor Powell 10.

Against Vic High, Phillip Norris exploded for 24.

A trip to Oregon before the tournament was a great bonding experience for the Shawnigan players.

“You could see it,’’ said Pasquale. “The boys are more committed. They’re focused.’’

Shawnigan plays No. 1 North Highland and Brentwood squares off against No. 2 North John Barsby in the Island tournament openers Thursday.

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