Not everybody was in Cowichan for the Welcome Back tourney as the St. Michaels University School Blue Jags hosted and roasted the Terry Fox Ravens, 72-50, at SMUS on Saturday.
The Ravens came for a two-stop visit, losing by an almost identical 72-53 to the Oak Bay Bays on Friday. Needless to say the Ravens, out of Coquitlam, didn’t live up to the team’s reputation, ranked among the top-10 in B.C. Meanwhile the Blue Jags were recently ranked third among AA teams in the province, ahead of Island stalwarts Lambrick Park and Brentwood College, who look to be the top AA competition on the Island this season.
“It’s so early in the year, you don’t want to get caught up in the rankings too much, but we’ve played really well,” said Blue Jags head coach Reagan Daly, a former Vikes basketball player.
The Blue Jags have plenty of leadership and character but not a lot of height (the opposite of Terry Fox), with senior Dave Lafleur at 6-foot-3 towering above his teammates.
Luckily for the Blue Jags, Lafleur is adept with his hands and gives them much-needed presence in the paint.
“You look at our roster, we do get small after (Lafleur),” Daly said. “We’re pretty balanced, a lot of guys between 6-foot and 5-foot-10. The offence we’re running is designed for five guys to be a threat and our scoring is always going to be pretty even.”
The Jags’ scoring line in the win over the Ravens is a prime example: Joe Erlic led with 20 points, Monty Fraser-Brown had 10 points and Lafleur scored 12.
Erlic is one of the teams 6-foot players who adds a lot of character and determination to the team’s makeup, Daly said.
“People don’t give (Erlic) too much credit. He’s a provincial rugby player and they think of him that way but he’s a great athlete and, from what I’ve seen, one of the better guards in the province.
“Last year Erlic handled the ball a lot but this year we’re getting away from that and he’s more effective. He shoots at a high percentage.”
As soon as the Blue Jags get the ball they’re on the move.
Speedy Grade 11 guards Mark Yorath and Dawit Workie both like to move the ball and both help make the team dangerous from the three-point line. Hardworking Derek Hyde-Lay is at the core of the team’s intense defence.
The Blue Jags are in action this weekend at Oak Bay High’s Gary Taylor Classic basketball tournament.
• St. Michaels will face Belmont in the first draw of the Gary Taylor Classic, tomorrow (Dec. 15) at 5:30 p.m. at Oak Bay High. Mount Douglas and Dover Bay open the tourney at 2 p.m., followed by Walter Murray (Sask.) vs. Lambrick Park at 3:45 p.m. and Oak Bay vs. Brookswood (Langley) at 7:15 p.m.