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Port Alberni hosts Special Olympics basketball regionals

Port Alberni teams finished first and fourth in the competition

Port Alberni’s Special Olympics basketball teams placed first and fourth in the Vancouver Island regionals, which were hosted at the Alberni Athletic Hall on March 8.

There were two divisions in the event, a “B” division and a “C” division, and Port Alberni had one team in each division. The local entries had mixed results. While the C team finished fourth with a 1-2 record, the B team won their division and are now eligible to compete in the B.C. provincials next year.

Campbell River, meanwhile, won the C division with a 3-0 record.

Port Alberni’s B team opened the tournament with a game against Nanaimo and got balanced scoring from Brandon Pater (15 points), James Mollett (14 points) and Andrew Geddes (eight points) en route to a 51-14 win.

Their second game was against Victoria, and once again a shared offence saw Geddes (16 points), Ryan Golden (14 points) and Mollett (10 points) lead the way to a 57-15 victory.

The final game for the B team was a rematch against Nanaimo, and it proved to be a far different affair than the first game. Nanaimo came out determined, while Alberni was flat for the first half. The two teams were tied at the half with 14 points each. But Port Alberni’s Pater took the game into his own hands and scored 15 points to dominate the second half. He had a game-high 21 points. Brett Lehtonen had 8 points and Golden had four in the 42-23 win that gave Alberni a 3-0 record and the regional championship.

Port Alberni’s C division team, meanwhile, opened the tournament with a hard-fought 25-20 loss against Oceanside. The top scorers for Alberni were Cameron Mollett with six points, Aiden Laforge with six points and Mary Jane Dennis with four points.

In their second game, the C team defeated Oceanside/Nanaimo by 31-24. Leading the offence were Curtis Lucas with 15 points, Laforge with six points and Dennis with four points.

Unfortunately, the C team ran out of gas against a bigger, more physical team from Campbell River in their final game and took a 34-8 defeat. Four players each scored a basket for Alberni.

The Special Olympic teams ended their season the following Monday night with an exhibition game against a team of Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) teachers at the ADSS gym. The teachers managed to tie the game at 68 with six seconds left in the game, leading to a three-minute overtime period that ended 72-70 in favour of the Special Olympics team.

About the Author: Alberni Valley News Staff

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