The 2018 Men’s Spring League Champs, the Italian Stallions. From left to right: Corey Williams; Mike Lange; Keiran Harding (holding trophy); Isaac Jack; Christopher Gow; Haiden Simpson. SUBMITTED PHOTO

The 2018 Men’s Spring League Champs, the Italian Stallions. From left to right: Corey Williams; Mike Lange; Keiran Harding (holding trophy); Isaac Jack; Christopher Gow; Haiden Simpson. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Stallions undefeated in Alberni Spring Hoops League

Record-setting perfect season was capped off by championship trophy

Six teams battled through the five-game regular season and two weeks of playoffs to arrive at Championship Week to crown our 2018 Spring Basketball League Champion. The action featured Twisted Willow Studios vs LB Woodchoppers in the 5th/6th place match-up. Ladybird Engraving and Co-op arrived to their bronze match-up via upset playoff victories. The Championship featured a Dave Ralla squad in the role of defending champs taking on a team on a quest for perfection: the Italian Stallions.

5th/6th Place: Twisted Willow Studio 73 – LB Woodchoppers 74

This game easily was the craziest nail-biting game of the night. It featured epic runs by both squads, a buzzer beating shot for the game, and a slightly controversial no-call. In typical fashion, Twisted stormed out of the gate 20-7, dominating both ends of the court early. Woodchoppers overcame the shock of the blitzkrieg and settled into their game plan, chunking a series of small runs to pull within one at the half, 36-35. Another blitzkrieg attack to start the second, but this time it was the ‘Choppers opening scoring 17-5. The Woodchoppers held a 16 point lead with 3:30 to go, when the lethal trio of Earl Tatoosh (19 pts), Coby Felsman jr (16 pts) and Evan Peters (17 pts) unleashed a torrent of outside-inside scoring for Twisted. They pulled the squad within 1pt with 1.8 seconds remaining. After the ‘Choppers mishandled the inbound play, Twisted took control in the offensive zone. Twisted’s Felsman drove the baseline for the game-winning attempt, or hoping to draw a shooting foul as a slight bit of contact occurred. As time expired, the shot fell short and the ref deemed the contact insufficient enough to make the call. Woodchoppers held on to win a thriller! Woodchoppers’ Brayden Kirchner and Bobby Ruppert scored 30 apiece.

3rd/4th Place: Ladybird Engraving 71 – Co-op 39

Two heavy underdogs heading into the playoffs found themselves squaring off for the bronze. This game was a runaway very early on. On the defensive side, every time Co-op made an adjustment, Ladybird created scoring opportunities for a different player, leading to four ‘Birds scoring double digits for the game. Offensively, Co-op just could not seem to buy a bucket. At half-time, the Ladybird squad soared comfortably ahead 32-12 and never looked back. Led by Rune Sinclair (13 pts) and Kevin Titian sr (10pts), Co-op found a bit of an offensive groove in the 2nd half, but the ‘Bird combo of Ian Samuel (22pts), Cam Cyr (12), Jayson Matthews (11) proved too much for the Green Machine. Ladybird Engraving makes the podium with a 3rd place finish.

Championship: Italian Stallions 63 – Dave Ralla 49

Last season’s champion, the Dave Ralla team, looked to pull off a back-to-back championship repeat. Standing in their way were the undefeated Italian Stallions (undefeated in regular season action and play-offs). The first 10 minutes was a physical back and forth game with 3 lead changes and 2 ties; neither team was able to pull away from the other. At half-time, the Stallions led the defending champs 30-27 and had everyone in attendance already thinking about the possibility of overtime. The Ralla squad opened the 2nd half flat, while Mike Lange led the Stallions on a stampede of scoring. A game that looked destined for OT suddenly saw the court tilt on the power of two market crashing 11-4 runs. To their credit, the Ralla Squad continued to battle (as defending champs do) but the lead was too great. Reg David, Adam Yaredic, and Dave Eamer pushed the offense for Ralla, scoring 16, 15, and 12 points respectively. Mike Lange (20 pts), Isaac Jack (14 pts) and Keiran Harding (13 pts) launched the Stallions into Spring League lore, with their record-setting perfect season capped-off with the championship trophy.

We would like to thank all of our participants for making this such an entertaining and competitive league this season. Thanks to the members of the ADSS Sr Boys basketball team for acting as minor officials. Special thanks to the Alberni Valley Basketball Officials Association and president, Andy Pavan, for officiating our games, as well as, Keyiana Patterson-Sterling for providing photography services for each and every game. Most importantly, we would like to thank each of our sponsors, Dave Ralla Re/max Agent; Ladybird Engraving and Web Designs; Alberni District Co-op; LB Woodchoppers, and Twisted Willow Studios because without their generous sponsorships our league would not operate. We encourage everyone to consider giving your patronage to these local businesses and support them, as they continue to support local events.