Co-op’s Tyson Davidson (green jersey) elevating over Dave Ralla’s Adam Yaredic for the rebound. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Stallions, Ralla advance to Men’s Spring League basketball finals

Championship games will be June 7 at Alberni District Secondary School gym

Week 2 of the Port Alberni Men’s Basketball Spring League 2018 Playoffs would set the stage for Championship Week match-ups. With a little help, almost every team had a chance of playing in the championship. Dave Ralla and the Italian Stallions had the most direct route, since a win meant they were in. The battle for the bronze, however, was going to have to wait until the dust settled on all the games this week.

Next Thursday, June 7 is Championship Week: (5/6th Place) 6:30 p.m.: Twisted vs Woodchoppers;

(3rd/4th Place) 7:30 p.m.: Ladybird vs Co-op;

(Championship) 8:30 p.m.: Stallions vs Ralla

Week 2 Recap

Game#1- 6:30 PM: Dave Ralla 57 – Co-op 51

Pool B’s top (Ralla) and last (Co-op) seed squared off in a phenomenal game. Kevin Titian jr (17pts), Eddie Fred (13pts), and Rune Sinclair (12pts) led the offensive charge time and again for Co-op and an upset looked underway, with a halftime score of 26-21 for Co-op, built through strong team defensive play, and calculating offensive work.

Team Ralla, however, couldn’t be held back forever. Their own dominant trio really took off in the second half. Cecil Mack (18), Adam Yaredic (15), and David Eamer (13) strung together a series of runs 6-2 runs to regain the upper hand, but could never pull away from Co-op. With under a minute to go, Co-op had fought their way to within 2 points, but needed to foul to stop the clock.

Ralla iced the game with free-throws and advanced to the Championship.

Game#2 -7:30PM: Italian Stallions 64 – Twisted Willow Studio 53

Their regular season match-up was a physical and chippy affair. The refs made their presence known early which allowed the game to settle into a back and forth see-saw battle. Employing a hard double-team on the Stallions leading scorer (Mike Lange) allowed Twisted to open fast with a 9-4 run. However, they were only to be overtaken by a Stallion 9-2 run of its own. In fact, the entire game continued in this manner—one team pulled ahead by a decent margin the other would storm back on a lead changing run of its own.

Half-time was a Twisted 29-22 lead. The 2nd-half opened with teams exchanging runs, only the Stallions had made an adjustment to their offense to help open up things for Lange. The Stallions found themselves on the winning side of scoring runs more often than their opponent. When the dust settled, Mike Lange dropped 32 pts on Twisted for a 64-53 victory while Kenneth Johnson (16), Coby Felsman jr (10), and Jacob Put (10) kept the game close for Twisted Willow. The Stallions advance to the Championship to take on Dave Ralla.

Game#3 -8:30PM: LB Wood Choppers 49 — Co-op 51

Co-op, in game 2 of their double-header, became rejuvenated by the unexpected sight of a Woodchoppers team who, unexpectedly, fielded only five players for this game! Co-op continued their defensive play, from game 1, to set the tone for this game. They stymied the Woodchopper offense and rarely gave up a defensive board, often limiting the Woodchoppers to a single attempt on any possession.

By halftime, there were eight lead changes and a Co-op 23-22 lead. The battle continued throughout the 2nd-half, until Woodchopper’s Long Pham fouled out, down 2 with 5 minutes remaining. With no bench for this game, the Woodchoppers played the remainder of the 2nd-half with only 4 players. Adjusting, they largely pushed the offensive pace, preferring fast-break points over running a half-court offensive set. While this tactic was largely effective at keeping them in the game, being down a man meant Co-op seemingly scored at will at the other end.

The Woodchoppers, could never regain the lead. Co-op’s 51-49 upset-win set a date into the 3rd place game vs Ladybird Engraving. Woodchoppers’ Gredy Barney, 18 pts, and Co-op’s Rune Sinclair, 23, led the way for their teams.

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