Wood Choppers’ Bobby Rupert goes on the attack after recovering a loose ball in Men’s Spring League basketball playoff action. KEYIANA PATTERSON-STERLING PHOTO

Ladybird Engraving splits in Men’s Spring League hoops doubleheader

First round of Alberni Men’s Spring League play-off action kicks off

With the playoff pools established in Men’s Spring Basketball League, many questions about how it would play out arose. How would LadyBird Engraving fare, playing a doubleheader? Who will be the team to blemish the Italian Stallions’ perfect record, so far? Who would emerge as the favourite in Pool B? Entering the first round of Men’s Spring League play-off action, many of these questions were answered.

Game#1- 6:30 PM: Italian Stallions 86 – Ladybird Engraving 60

This game was over early, as the Stallions opened the game on a 17-5 tear, thanks in large part to the outside shooting and slippery drives to the hoop of Kieran Harding. For Harding, 13 of his 20 points on the night came in those first minutes of the game.

The Birds offense ground for every bucket they got. Jayden Moss’ 28 points led the way for the ‘Birds, but unfortunately, they lacked the same determination or leadership on the defensive end, regularly allowing uncontested jumpers and they were seemingly one step behind on cuts to the basket. Despite picking up four fouls early, Mike Lange was able to finish out the game with 33 points for the Stallions on the back of seven made three-point shots.

Game#2 -7:30PM: Dave Ralla 67 – LB Woodchoppers 42

The winner of this Pool B playoff matchup would generate a significant advantage in their quest to play for the championship. It was apparent that this fact played on the nerves of players from both sides, as scoring was hard to come by in the opening minutes of the game. It was five minutes into a 7-7 game when Team Ralla suddenly found their groove.

Leaning on the trio of Adam Yaredic, Cecil Mack, and Reg David with superb ball movement and pick and roll action, Ralla exploded into a 16-3 run. Throughout the game, the ‘Choppers Bobby Rupert (27pts) tried to singlehandedly keep pace, but they never recovered from that first-half Ralla surge. Yaredic led Ralla scoring with 20, Mack and David contributed 13 each.

Game#3 -8:30PM: Twisted Willow Studios 58 – Ladybird Engraving 77

After a lacklustre defensive effort in Game 1 and heading into the back half of their double-header against the high-octane offense of Twisted Willow Studio any chance of victory seemed an ominous prospect. As expected, buckets rained down in the opening minutes as fast as the scorekeepers could post them.

Ball movement, for both sides, was excellent and scoring was spread evenly amongst all players. When the dust settled at halftime, the ‘Birds held a shocking 42-35 lead. In the 2nd half, Coby Felsman (18 pts) and Evan Peters (8pts) did everything they could to overcome that lead.

Just as it appeared that Twisted Willow was going to pull even, Dane Samuel countered with a series of consecutive 3’s, leading Ladybird to an insurmountable 17-4 run with just minutes remaining. Dane and Ian Samuel led Ladybird to their upset victory with 24 and 22 points.

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