The PacWest championships didn’t have a perfect ending.
The VIU Mariners were upset in the gold-medal game Saturday night at the Vancouver Island University gym, falling 76-59 to the Douglas Royals.
The M’s trailed 37-30 at the half and things unravelled once the Royals got hot from three-point range.
“We struggled shooting, but Douglas was very physical with us. They played hard, their guys stepped up and made plays,” said Matt Kuzminski, Mariners coach. “We didn’t have our best game by any means, but I think a lot of the credit goes to the way they played and the way they game-planned for us. They took us out of what we wanted to do.”
Usama Zaid was player of the game for VIU with 23 points and seven rebounds. Jerod Dorby scored 13 points and Bryson Cox scored 12.
For Douglas, Grant Campbell was chosen player of the game after a 24-point effort. Reese Morris added 17 points.
Campbell was selected tournament MVP and Morris and Kameron Johnson, also from Douglas, were chosen tournament all-stars, as were VIU’s Zaid and Dorby.
The Royals’ victory marked that program’s first provincial championship in 10 years; for the Mariners, the season is over as B.C. wasn’t allotted a wild-card berth into nationals this year.
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Kuzminski said assistant coach Mark Simpson compares the end of basketball season to walking off a cliff.
“You’re into basketball every day and you’re consumed by it and then there’s nothing for a bit…” Kuzminski said. “It was a fun season, a great group of guys. We’ve won so much, with the three PacWest titles in a row, that you’re almost a little bit shocked now that we’ll wake up [Sunday] and the season will be over.”
On the women’s side, the Capilano Blues won the PacWest championship with a 75-70 win over the Camosun Chargers in Saturday’s gold-medal game.
The VIU Mariners women finished fourth after falling 77-67 to the Royals in that afternoon’s bronze-medal match. Shayce Johnson was player of the game for VIU, Emma Platner led the team with 19 points and Danielle Vanbergen scored 13. VIU’s Emily Clarke was selected a tournament all-star.