Alberni Armada senior boys player Ian Long, left, beats Mark Isfeld Ice’s Darrin Lessard to the ball during the Armada’s final game in the North Island basketball championships, Saturday morning. Isfeld won 82–44. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Alberni Armada senior boys lose heartbreaker at North Island hoop finals

Basketball team goes 0-2 in North Island championship

The ADSS Armada senior boys ended their basketball season with a tough 82–44 loss to No. 1 seed Mark Isfeld Ice at the AAA North Island championships in the ADSS gymnasium on Saturday morning.

“It was a tough way to go out,” a subdued coach Craig Brooks said after meeting with his team following the Isfeld loss.

“Especially in the first quarter, it’s a close game, then a sudden breakdown and the adjustments aren’t working. We forced them into eight turnovers in that first quarter. We were up 13–11 after one quarter,” Brooks said.

The Armada squeaked into the North Island championships with a 62–54 challenge game win over Ballenas last Tuesday. They opened the North Islands with a 65–42 loss to Wellington, putting them on the consolation side.

The Armada faced No. 1 seed Mark Isfeld Ice on Saturday morning, losing 82–44. Isfeld finished in third place after a 100–58 win over Wellington in the consolation final. In other games, Carihi beat John Barsby 77–52 to advance to the final. Vanier beat Wellington 72–68 to also advance to the final. Wellington beat Barsby 81-68 to advance to the third/fourth place game.

Brooks said the Armada, who came into the season wanting to play ‘defensively aggressive’ did a decent job of sticking to the plan this season. In the game against Isfeld, though, communication breakdown caused the self-doubt to creep in.

“It always seems to be with Isfeld, if we’re playing them on the road, we play tough. I don’t know if it’s the added pressure (at home) that kabukis us.

“The first time we played Isfeld we lost by six points,” Brooks said. “We had a legitimate chance to win that game—we shot six of 18 from the free throw line. Even if you increase that, shooting 50 percent instead of 33 percent, suddenly you have a tie game. Who knows what would have happened that early in the season?

“They played with pride. They closed out well, they started well; it was just the in-between.”

The Vanier Towhees from Courtenay edged Carihi High Tyees from Campbell River 88–82 to win the North Island championship. The AAA boys’ Island championships will take place Feb. 22–24 at Carihi High. The top four teams—Vanier, Carihi, Isfeld and Wellington—qualify for the Islands.

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