The gym was a rockin’ on Tuedsday night as Mount Douglas hosted a loud, proud and in-your-face contest between the Rams and Oak Bay Bays senior boys basketball teams.
A late run by Mount Doug wasn’t enough, despite a series of baskets by their unstoppable guard, Elliot Rowe, as Oak Bay prevailed 73-69. Rowe ended the match with 20 points, tying the Bays’ Liam Horne for the game high in scoring.
Even more intense than the war on the floor was a battle of two schools in the stands. All three sets of bleachers were full and the crowd was on its feet for what seemed like the entire fourth quarter. The sea of green had the last laugh, and left Rams fans to bang their pots and pans another day.
“Excellent school spirit. Great work by (Mount Douglas),” said Bays coach Chris Franklin.
It was the Bays first win over the Rams in three tries this season, setting up an exciting Lower Island tournament at Oak Bay, Feb. 23 to 25.
“We’ve been getting better defensively and that showed tonight. The psychological factor helped tonight. Psychologically, I’d like (the players) to keep a bit more of an even keel over the season.”
Oak Bay’s speed was key in keeping the Rams from tying the score in the home stretch, when Rowe potted four straight baskets, including a three-pointer, to bring the Rams within two points in the final minute.
Bays guard Kaz Kobayashi carried the ball downcourt with authority, creating passing space that allowed the Bays to pass it around when the Rams needed it most.
“Kobayashi is a physical player, and when he makes the right decisions he’s a difficult player to guard,” Franklin said. “I know Kobayashi had a good game when (his teammates) have 15 points.”
Evan Woodson scored 19 for the Bays, while Conor Morgan scored 18 for the Rams.
“It could be an even more excited crowd when Oak Bay hosts the Lower Islands, in an even smaller gym,” said Rams coach Skip Cronck.
On Saturday (Feb. 11) the provincially No. 8 ranked Rams face the unranked Claremont Spartans for the first time since the Spartans surprised the Rams with an 83-74 win on Jan. 19. Last week the Spartans were at it again, upsetting the No. 7 ranked Bays 69-67.
“Claremont did a good job on both of us,” Cronck said.
Game time on Saturday is 1 p.m. at Mount Doug.