Dover thrills in playoff win

Dover Bay Dolphins guard Jon Bethell, left, vies for positioning during the North Island final Saturday against Cowichan at the Dover Bay school gym. - RACHEL STERN/The News Bulletin
Dover Bay Dolphins guard Jon Bethell, left, vies for positioning during the North Island final Saturday against Cowichan at the Dover Bay school gym.
— image credit: RACHEL STERN/The News Bulletin

The Dover Bay Dolphins are clutch playoff performers.

The senior AAA boys’ basketball team proved that much as it won the North Island championship Saturday in its home gym.

Jon Bethell’s game-winning shot with 3.8 seconds left lifted Dover Bay to a 70-68 victory over the Cowichan Thunderbirds. It capped a 36-point outing for the guard.

“A lot of excitement,” said Reid Fralick, coach of the Dover boys. “With the crowd, too, it was pure exhilaration, really. It was fun to see how close we were not to finishing first, but being able to pull off two really exciting wins.”

Dover was down 13-0 to start Saturday’s final, but settled down and chipped away.

The previous day’s semifinal was also a thriller, with Bethell hitting a game-winning three-pointer with 20 seconds left for a 67-66 victory over the Ballenas Whalers.

The coach trusted his players late in that game, knowing they needed two to tie or three to go ahead.

"We just ran one of our sets and I said, 'Just get the best shot available,' and he's our best shooter and he was wide open, so I couldn't argue with it," Fralick said.

Bethell had 26 points in that game and Brandon Kumar scored 21. Michael Pereira was strong defensively all weekend.

The tournament win will serve the Dolphins well as they prepare for the start of Island championships Thursday (March 1) in Duncan.

“They’re going to go in much more confident than maybe we’ve been in the past,” said Fralick.

Dover plays Claremont at 2 p.m. at Cowichan Secondary School.

Dover Bay’s girls, meanwhile, finished their season this past weekend with a fourth-place finish at senior AAA Island championships in Victoria.

The team started and ended the tournament with losses to the host Mt. Douglas Rams. In between, Dover defeated Stelly’s 45-42 in overtime behind Jenna Ziemanski’s 10 points and topped Alberni 76-72 with Emily Shires scoring 23 points and Blanca Vallejo scoring 17.

In the tournament-opening 67-65 loss, Shires scored 21, and Ziemanski and Gabby Jeffrey each had 14. In Dover's last game, McKenzie Nicks led her team with 19 points.

Another team that saw its season come to an end on the weekend was the Woodlands Eagles senior AA girls, following a fourth-place finish at Islands in Victoria.

"It was a good tournament," said Carl Macdonald, Eagles coach. "We played some really good games."

The Eagles tipped off the tourney with a 64-58 victory over Brentwood on Thursday in which all five Woodlands starters reached double figures in points. Michelle Berti's 13 led the way and Margaret Edwardson scored 12. The team lost its next one 85-42 versus Lambrick Park, with Tia Malenica's 10 points a team high. Woodlands won Saturday 46-31 over Shawnigan Lake, led by Ksenia Malenica's 15-point effort.

That set up a must-win third-place game to extend the season, and St. Michaels defeated Woodlands 56-46. Berti scored 15 in defeat.

COURT SHORTS … Other high school basketball teams were in action this past weekend, too. The Wellington Wildcats senior AA girls advanced to provincials and the Nanaimo District Islanders senior AA girls were eliminated at Island championships. The Cedar Spartans senior A girls hosted Island championships this past weekend but tournament results were not available.

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