Claremont Spartans’ senior guard Shaylyn Crisp showed her value as a blue chip prospect for the UVic Vikes on Saturday night.
Crisp took a solid knock early but returned to help the Spartans to victory over the Oak Bay Breakers, 87-57, winning the Lower Island AAA girls title.
Gracious hosts that they are, the Breakers were no match for Claremont, the fourth ranked team in the province.
The Spartans went ahead early, ending the first quarter 22-10. However, Crisp suffered a bloody gash over her right eye from a collision while chasing a loose ball in the key. Against her wishes, Crisp was taken to the hospital to have the cut dressed.
Her absence was noticeable in the second quarter.
Claremont struggled to reconfigure their game and standout Oak Bay guard Jill Cooper, still in Grade 11, began to control the flow. Cooper’s team outscored Claremont 17-15 in the second frame, but were still behind 37-27 at the half.
“Crisp sets the pace of the game on defence and offence,” Spartans coach Kim Graves said. “Shalie (Dheenshaw) knew she needed to shoot more and we found a groove in the last few minutes (of the first half).”
With a bruised nose and a butterfly bandage covering six stitches in her right eyebrow, Crisp returned for the start of the third quarter.
“Guess I’m lucky the (Royal Jubilee Hospital) is so close,” she said.
With Crisp back in the game, the Spartans cruised ahead.
Still, Crisp credited Oak Bay as their toughest Island competition this year.
“We expect to see them again, likely in the finals at the Island championships,” Crisp said.
Sitting in the bleachers, Vikes coach Brian Cheng had to be pleased with Crisp’s toughness and composure as she’ll join the Vikes in September.
“I’ve never seen a player leave to get stitches and come back,” Graves said. “That’s a hockey, or rugby thing.”
Oak Bay coach Rob Kinnear praised the one-two combo of Crisp and Dheenshaw. Few team’s can match the 6-foot-3 Dheenshaw’s presence under the hoop.
“I can’t think of a better two-player combo in the province right now. There might be another duo just as good, but not better.”
Kinnear, a former Stelly’s and Vikes player, said his team didn’t have its best game Saturday night, despite hosting the match.
With 10 of the Breakers still in Grade 11, this year’s team bears little resemblence to last year’s Oak Bay team, which went on a surprise run to place second in B.C.
“We’re learning a lot from these games,” Kinnear said. “There aren’t any stars here, we do it by committee. If one person isn’t dialled into their role it throws off our whole unit.”
Claremont and Oak Bay qualify for the AAA Islands in Port Alberni, Feb. 24-26. Joining them are third-place Stelly’s and fourth-place Spectrum. Claremont defeated Spectrum while Oak Bay bettered Stelly’s in Friday night’s semifinals.
Lambrick win AA title
The Lambrick Park Lion’s restored themselves as the top AA boy’s club in the city defeating St. Michaels University School Jags, 81-38, in the final at SMUS on Saturday.
SMUS stole the AA regular season league title in an upset over Lambrick last week. But it was all Lambrick in the final, doubling their opponent in points.
Both teams have a great chance to qualify for the provincials at the AA Island Championships in Ladysmith this weekend, Feb. 24-26.
The Esquimalt Dockers and Parkland Panthers were edged out by Brentwood College and Shawnigan Lake on day one. The latter schools qualified third and fourth for the Island championships, respectively.
AA Islands at SMUS
SMUS hosts the AA girls Island championships this week, Feb. 24-26. Fellow Saanich school Lambrick Park will participate while Parkland played the Gulf Islands on Monday for final berth, results past press time.
Tournament begins Thursday. Championship final is 4 p.m. Saturday.
‘A’ Islands in Ucluelet
Victor Brodeur and Pacific Christian School join favourites Glenlyon Norfolk School at the single-A boy’s Island championship in Ucluelet, Feb. 24-26.