Teams forced to earn hoops wins

Woodlands Eagles player Theo Stewart

Woodlands Eagles player Theo Stewart

High school basketball teams had to work for their wins on Tuesday as none of the games were a breeze. A handful of all-Nanaimo matchups highlighted the action on a busy night of league play.

One of the premier games was at the John Barsby Community Secondary School gym, where the Woodlands Eagles defeated the host Blazers 65-50 in senior AA play. The teams were separated by only three points at the half, then the Eagles started to defend more aggressively, creating more opportunities at the other end.

Woodlands player Theo Stewart finished with a game-high 24 points and his teammate Mike Skoropad had 14. For Barsby, Nathan Tellier led the way with 12 points.

The Eagles, dealing with some injury troubles, know they can be better than they’ve shown of late.

“We started the season strong and we’re going through a little slump right now,” said Stewart. “But we’re coming back.”

Two other local matchups were played at a doubleheader at the Nanaimo District Secondary School gymnasium, where the Wellington Wildcats senior AAA boys handled the NDSS Islanders 59-40 after the Dover Bay Dolphins senior AAA girls had defeated the ND girls 85-41.

In the boys’ game, Wellington’s Nate Brown led all scorers with 21 points while ND’s Liam Goodall led his team’s offence.

In the girls’ game, Dover’s Cassandra Knievel scored 30 points, Ashley Korabek scored 20 and Sara Simovic scored 14. The Isles’ Leigh Richardson responded with 24.

Also at home were the Cedar Spartans senior AA boys, who got past the Ladysmith 49ers by a final score of 62-54. Colby Morgan was the Spartans’ top scorer with 12 points and Jake Crow and Brad Putz supplied 10 points apiece.

Out-of-town action included a big game in Duncan, where the Dover Bay senior AAA boys got past the Cowichan Thunderbirds 74-65. Jason McKee, Seme Rabeh and Eric Kuzminski each supplied 14 points in the victory.

Also playing on the road Tuesday were the Wellington Wildcats senior AA girls, who beat the Gulf Islands Scorpions 45-40. Coach Nicole McRae said the score was closer than it needed to be, as her team got off to another slow start.

“We were up at the end of the first quarter, but we weren’t playing like we could have been,” she said. “We’ve got to figure out what’s going on.”

Mariah Van Sickle led Wellington with 16 points and Garaline Tom had 14.

The Woodlands Eagles senior AA girls won convincingly Tuesday up-Island, defeating the Highland Raiders 56-30. Katherine Coupland was the high scorer for the Eagles and Raechell Sywak and Anna Kawai also had strong offensive games.

The Barsby Blazers senior AA girls came out on the losing end in Courtenay, falling to the Isfeld Ice. The 11-point margin was a pretty good result for the Barsby girls.

“They played really well,” said April White, the team’s coach. “The game would have been different, just our shots weren’t falling whatsoever.”

Marcee Greene, Shayna Beute and Nikita Kitagawa were top scorers for the Blazers.

GAME ON … There are two local games on the schedule Thursday (Jan. 20) as the Woodlands Secondary School gym hosts a doubleheader. The Eagles girls get things started with a make-up game against Isfeld at 5 p.m., then the Woodlands boys take on the Wellington boys in exhibition action starting at 6:45 p.m. On Friday the Dover Bay boys host an exhibition contest against the Handsworth Royals at 7 p.m.