The Charlottetown Rural Raiders opened the second half on a 15-2 run to pull away from the Colonel Gray Colonels Tuesday and claim a provincial boys basketball title.
The Raiders defeated their rivals 63-38 in front of a boisterous crowd of about 1,000 fans to repeat as Prince Edward Island School Athletic Association Domino’s senior AAA boys’ champions.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Grade 11 forward Logan MacDonald. “It’s just as good as the first time.”
The Raiders opened the game hot, scoring the first 11 points. The Colonels lost Grade 11 player Max Ramsay four minutes in to the game to an ankle injury, but went on a 9-2 run — led by seven from Jeremy Thompson — to close the quarter down 13-9.
Rural’s Jack MacAulay and Stephen Seviour got into foul trouble in the second quarter, but the team was able to go into the half leading 22-15.
“Logan MacDonald hit some big shots to bring us into half,” Seviour said.
In deed he did. MacDonald scored all nine of the Raiders points in the second quarter, including a pair of treys late.
“He was huge,” said assistant coach Ryan Keliher. “He just stepped up when we needed him and he hit the shots.”
Keliher had a key message for the boys during the break.
“We weathered that storm at half,” Keliher told The Guardian. “I said we need to come out in the second half just like we did to start the game and hopefully sustain that a little bit longer and I think we were able to do that in the third quarter.”
The Raiders were the top-ranked team entering the playoffs, but they were taking nothing for granted.
“We knew it would be a dogfight,” MacDonald said. “That’s a good team right there.”
Seviour, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, said the Raiders’ depth was key to victory.
“We have 11 players we can rotate in and out,” he said. “When we got into foul trouble . . . a key part of that was putting in other guards that got the job done.”
MacDonald led the Raiders with 18, followed by Seviour’s 16 and Noah Giddings’ eight. Brayden White had seven points, but was key on the glass with 11 boards and in the paint with five blocks.
Thompson led Gray with 17 points while Brett Butler and Mark Smith each added seven.
Sarah Peters hit a three-pointer with 3:40 left in the first quarter to give the Colonel Gray Colonels a
15-14 lead they would not relinquish.
The Colonels went on to claim the senior AAA girls’ title with a 77-50 victory over the Three Oaks Axewomen.
“It was big,” Kendra Craswell said of Peters’ shot. “We needed that momentum.”
Peters knocking down a key shot is nothing new for coach Chris Annett.
“Sarah has been one of, if not, our best player through the playoffs,” he said after the game.
Three Oaks were the two-time defending champs and have won the banner three of the past four seasons. The Colonels had won the title six of the previous nine years, but this was their first since 2010-11.
“We lost to them last year and it was tough, so we wanted to beat them this year,” Craswell admitted.
The Colonels held quarter leads of 24-19, 47-26 and 67-40.
Axewomen guard Jessica Gillis picked up her third foul late in the first quarter.
“That really hurt us,” coach James Voye said. “She’s our best ball handler, a senior, Grade 12 captain and I think she left it on the floor tonight.”
The win capped off a season that saw the Colonels defeat the New Brunswick champions and Nova Scotia’s silver medallists.
“We worked hard all season and it’s really paid off,” said Grade 10 guard Jenna Mae Ellsworth.
Voye was proud of how his team played.
“The girls worked really hard all game,” he said. “We have 11 girls on our team that there’s just no quit and I think they showed that tonight.
“Gray is an excellent team and we did as good as we could to stick with them as long as we did.”
Ellsworth led the Colonels with 19 points while Victoria Barbour and Jada Yeo each had 15 and Peters 14.
Ashley Simmons led Three Oaks with 19 points while Gillis had 13 and Charlotte Thompson 10.
Bronze Medal Games
The Bluefield Bobcats and Three Oaks Axemen won the bronze medals at the P.E.I. School Athletic Association senior AAA basketball championships Tuesday in Charlottetown.
The Bobcats defeated the Charlottetown Rural Raiders 69-52 in the girls’ bronze-medal game.
The Bobcats jumped out to a 23-13 first-quarter lead, but Rural cut the deficit to 39-33 at halftime.
Haley Wilting led the Bobcats with 31 points and 18 rebounds. Maria Walsh had 18 points and Jordan Havenga added 14 points and seven boards.
Abby Hurley (19), Sarah Steele (15) and Kassie Little (8) were Rural’s leading point-getters. Little also collected 11 rebounds.
The Axemen defeated the Westisle Wolverines 66-44 for the boys’ bronze medal.
The Wolverines led 16-15 after a slow first quarter, but the Axemen took a 32-21 lead into halftime. Three Oaks stretched the lead to 50-30 after three quarters.
Ty Wright and Tanner Mendoza each poured in 22 points to lead the Axemen, while James Meek added 10.
Kenan Wilkie led Westisle with 17 points. Andrew Gough had 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks.
The following are the P.E.I. School Athletic Association Dominio’s senior AAA basketball championship tournament all-star teams and MVPs:
Tanner Mendoza, Three Oaks.
Logan MacDonald, Charlottetown Rural.
Brayden White, Charlottetown Rural.
Brett Butler, Colonel Gray.
Jeremy Thompson, Colonel Gray.
MVP – Stephen Seviour, Charlottetown Rural.
Haley Wilting, Bluefield.
Jessica Gillis, Three Oaks.
Ashley Simmons, Three Oaks.
Kendra Craswell, Colonel Gray.
Jada Yeo, Colonel Gray.
MVP – Jenna Mae Ellsworth, Colonel Gray.