Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rainmakers go undefeated in NorthWest Zones! Claiming title and advancing to AAA Provincials

High energy on the court and an enthusiastic and loud crowd in the stands, made for some showcase basketball this past week. As the Charles Hays Rainmakers hosted the AAA Northwest Zones at the Prince Rupert Boulevard campus.

Following three days of entertaining competition, when the final basket had been counted, it was the host Rainmakers that were ready to make the travel plans to Langley, as Charles Hays claimed the tournament title with three convincing decisions along the way.

The Rainmakers began the tournament on Thursday evening with long time rival Caledonia in Chuck's house. A familiar visitor over the years, there have been some epic battles between the two Northwest communities, rivalries that run up and down the various levels of high school basketball.

Thursday night however belonged to the Rainmakers, who took charge of things early and never really looked back knocking down Caledonia by a score of 84-35.

That put the Terrace school looking to fight their way back into picture when they met up with Smithers the next day. However the Bulkey Valley squad, which has been making some noise of its own through this 2014-15 season came as advertised.

The Friday afternoon game at CHSS offered up some tough back and forth play, with both squads competing hard through the entire match. However, the final buzzer delivered the knock out blow on Caledonia, as Smithers claimed victory with a 50 to 43 victory over the Terrace squad.

Friday's schedule wasn't kind to the Gryphons,  offering up a tough situation for the visiting Smithereens. Providing for a turn around game at 7:30 in the evening that would see them tipping off against the defending zone champ Rainmaker squad, a group that was chomping at the bit for another chance to head to Langley.

With a boisterous crowd, one heavily inclined towards the Rainmakers bringing the gym to a fever pitch, the Charles Hays squad began to push hard into the third quarter, putting some distance between themselves and the visitors, registering the Rainmakers second victory of the tournament by a score of 67 to 43.

The Friday night match up set the table for Saturday's Northwest Zones Final, a Noon hour showcase that found the Smithers team hardly intimidated by their hosts, battling hard to keep pace with the Rainmakers.

A shot of the action between
Charles Hays and Smithers this weekend at Zones,
Many more photos at CHSS Sports twitter feed
In the end, the experiences learned from this season started to pay off for Charles Hays heading toward the mid way portion of the game, with the Rainmakers taking a 53 to 30 lead into the half, a string of three point conversions opening up the widening gap on the scoreboard.

Once the teams took to the court for the final half of the championship game, the Rainmakers kept the Gryphons at a distance, making sure that the determined Smithers squad didn't begin to chip away at the CHSS lead.
pressure on the

Three quarter time found a twenty point spread between clubs and from that point, with the prospect of Langley on their horizon, Mel Bishop's squad brought the game home.

Solid defensive play stymied the Gryphons attack, though not without a few tense moments in the final five minutes of play as Smithers put on an impressive late game push.

The Rainmakers adjusted quickly however to the Smithers attack, settling down the play and securing their berth in the Provincials with an 84 to 71 final score.

The Rainmakers finishing off their Zones going undefeated and having scored 235 points over three games, while surrendering only 149.

The thirteen point difference of the final, doesn't properly highlight the amount of heart that the Gryphons showed as they battled hard keep their Provincials hopes alive.

Through the weekend, the Smithers team was one that lived up to the buzz that has started to be heard about the Gryphons program, offering up the prospect of some very competitive basketball to come across the region in the years to come.

You can capture some of the excitement of the Northwest Zones from the CHSS Sports twitter feed, the CHSS portal which has provided comprehensive information on the Rainmakers at all levels.

With updates, commentary, as well as a number of photos and videos that provided snapshots of the enthusiasm for high school hoops over the three days of Zones, the CHSS twitter feed was (and is) the go to place for any Rainmaker information.

With the mission complete of picking up another Northwest Zones banner to be raised in the Charles Hays Gym, the Rainmakers can now turn their attention to the AAA Championships at the Langley Events Centre.

The Rainmakers will now make use of the lessons learned from the last three days of basketball and from the season just completed, putting it all together as they prepare for the challenges ahead in their blue print for 2015.

The opening draw for Provincials was held on Sunday afternoon, as the day one match ups were set.

During the pre-tournament event, which was streamed live from Langley, the Charles Hays squad learned that they will tip off their journey at 1:30 on on March 11th, when they take on Mark Isfeld of Courtenay.

You can start your research on the Provincials from a range of options, there is the AAA Provincial's website, Facebook page and twitter feed.

As well as those tournament resources, the twitter feed BCHoopScoop offers up a large volume of notes and observations on all of the teams participating in the various levels of Provincials in March.

For more on the Rainmakers road to Langley, see our archive page here.

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