Dave Ralla’s Ian Samuel driving to the hoop while being defended by LB Woodchoppers’ Trey Bell. Keyiana Patterson-Sterling Photo

Playoffs begin for Port Alberni’s Men’s Spring Basketball League

First round of double-elimination playoffs got underway at ADSS



The first round of the Men’s Spring League double-elimination playoffs got underway on Thursday evening with 3 games on the docket. The round began with the #4 (Dave Ralla) and #5 (LB Wood Choppers) seeds squaring off for the right to face Ladybird Engraving (#1 seed) in the third game of the evening. The second game of the evening pitted #2 Alberni Co-op against #3 Italian Stallions to determine which side will continue their championship aspirations within the Winner or Consolation brackets. Teams are knocked out when they are handed their second playoff loss.

Game 1: #4 Dave Ralla (90) vs. #5 LB Woodchoppers (74)

The Woodchoppers found themselves undermanned heading into this playoff game with only five players taking the court and no bench. With solid contributions from everyone on the floor, however, the Choppers were able to go toe-to-toe throughout the entire first half. In particular, it was Long Pham with a career-like performance that seemed to spur the Woodchoppers on. By the end of the first half he found himself solidly on his way to a triple double, finishing the half with nine points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots. By game’s end, he achieved the revered stat line, finishing with 17 points, 10 blocks and 12 boards.

While the half closed at a competitive 46-35, it was evident from the ball movement and floor scoring contributions from every member of the Ralla squad that the Choppers would be unable to maintain that competitive and combative pace. Ralla’s frequent substitutions kept all legs fresh and, more importantly, allowed continuous scoring waves of 10-4 and 6-0 to rollout like clockwork. Greg Wiatr (Ralla) and Dave Eamer’s (LB) 20 pts each cancelled each other out, as did Ian Samuel’s (Ralla) and Trey Bell’s (LB) 19. That left Brayden Kirschner’s 15-pt effort alongside Long’s heroic 17 to fend off the 50+ pts between Bobby Rupert (11), Dane Samuel (12), Ozzie Felsman (8) and Zech Macdonald (8), and Kieran Harding and Richard Webster’s six each.

With the win, Ralla would move on to face Ladybird Engraving in Game 3 of this playoff round.

Game#2: #2 Alberni Co-op (87) vs. #3 Italian Stallions (64)

This game featured two regular contributors to the Individual Performers of the week during the regular season (Jayden Moss and Coby Felsman) and, in the beginning, the game did not disappoint. While Jayden Moss led the offensive scoring for the Co-op side, it was the brilliant work of ball distribution provided by Chris Gow and board-hungry play by Tyson Davidson that figured predominately throughout both halves of this game. For the Stallions, it was Felsman’s ability to drive and score or drive and dish that provided opportunities for Skyler Quesnel-Campbell to power up at the glass or Gredy Barney to get open looks from the arc. The Stallions also saw a young star in the making with the defensive hustle and offense scoring of Sam Wynans as well.

Unfortunately for the Stallions, Felsman went down with an ankle injury that knocked him out of the game early on and Wynans ran into foul trouble very early and fouled out. Gabe Barbosa looked to fill that void for the Stallions with decisive penetrations to the rim, but the squad was unable to move the ball with the same fluidity. Sensing their vulnerability, Co-op intensified the pace and began scoring in transition with greater frequency. Without that high motor presence on the perimeter defense, Josh Hobbs, Eddie Fred and Rick Masso were able to get open looks from deep more frequently for Co-op.

Jayden Moss and Tyson Davidson had 25 and 17 pts respectively in the Co-op victory. Gredy Barney (18pts) and Skyler Quesnel (12pts) were the consistent scoring presence in the loss for the Stallions.

Game 3: #1 Ladybird Engraving (98) vs. #4 Dave Ralla (61)

As the winner of Game 1, Ralla had the unenviable task of not only playing in a double header, but also taking on the undefeated Ladybird squad. In the opening minutes, despite being short their big man Greg Wiatr, Ralla looked to continue their great team play from earlier in the evening. Everyone on the Ralla roster got into the scoring action and seemed willing to make that necessary extra pass and it seemed that the 12-8 score was a case of foreshadowing a close final score.

Unfortunately for Ralla, Ladybird’s Lange alternated between scoring threat and ball distributor for his squad. When a team has two players cross the double-digit stat line and two more knocking on the door of it by the end of a half, it is not surprising find two runs of 10-0 and a 19-point lead.

Heading into the second half, Ralla only further dug themselves into a hole. Despite a relatively low team foul count, Kieran Harding found himself on the wrong end of two technical foul calls for unsportsmanlike conduct when arguing about several (non) calls. With the combination of fatigued legs and disheartened spirit, Ralla resorted to one and done isolation shot attempts while Ladybird continued to apply a great amount of defensive pressure (despite seeing two members ultimately foul out as a result). Jacob Put (23 pts) and Martin Adair (16pts) rose to the occasion for Ladybird while Ozzie Felsman and Dane Samuel’s 14- and 13-point efforts attempted to keep Ralla afloat.

Thursday, May 30 Round 2 Playoff Schedule:

Game 4: 6:30 p.m. #5 Woodchoppers vs #3 Stallions; Game 5: 7:30 p.m. #2 Co-op vs #1 Ladybird; Game 6: 8:30 p.m. #4 Ralla vs Winner of Game 4. Games take place at the ADSS gym.

Read the full story online at www.albernivalleynews.com.

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Italian Stallions Coby Felsman Jr. moments before his perfected drive, spin and dish at the hoop. Keyiana Patterson-Sterling Photo

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