By Karla Kelly
FOR THE DIGBY COURIER
The Annapolis West Education Center senior boys’ basketball team captured the Western Region Division 3 Regional banner after defeating St. Mary’s Bay Academy 83-49 in the championship final in Annapolis on Monday, Feb. 17.
Both teams were 2-0 in the opening and semi-final rounds on Feb. 15 to advance to the regional final. Having been in the regional final, both teams also now advance to Division 3 provincials.
The Wolfpack, known for their stifling full court press, were relentless as they hounded the Stingrays at both ends of the court to take a 30-10 lead after the first quarter.
Josh Marshall and Travis Dorcey paced the Wolfpack with eight points each in the opening frame.
The Stingrays battled to slow down the Wolfpack in the second quarter but trailed 49-21 at the half.
SMBA continued to struggle offensively in the third quarter missing their leading scorer Shayne Clements who was sitting out with an ankle injury suffered in Saturday’s game against Bridgewater.
With a balanced team effort and fresh legs from the Wolfpack bench AWEC pushed out to a 74-32 lead in the third quarter.
Toby Stone’s 11 point fourth quarter performance sparked the Stingray offence as the team dug deep to win the final frame 17-9.
Stingrays coach Brad Bright said he was proud of his team and how well they played over the regional weekend.
“We came into the tournament shorthanded and knew that we would be in tough against teams with a full bench,” said Bright. “We had a convincing 79-45 win over Barrington Saturday morning followed up by a great team effort in our 80-72 upset over Bridgewater.”
Bright congratulated Annapolis on winning the banner and feels they are strong contenders for the provincial title.
“We had six senior players today and they battled with a lot of heart against a very strong team,” he said. “The boys played well enough for second place and we are looking forward to another provincial tournament.”
Wolfpack coach James Wiseman was pleased with his team’s success and feels they are in good form heading into provincials.
“We have a good core of experienced players and our full court press worked well today,” said Wiseman. “The team brought 40 minutes worth of energy into the game and everyone on the team contributed to the win.”
Wiseman had high praise for the Stingrays and wished them luck at provincials.
“SMBA players always fight hard,” he said. “They battle to the last second and have great team play.”
“It hurt them today missing their main scorer Shayne Clements. Hopefully his injury is healed in time for Provincials.”
Travis Dorcey led the Wolfpack with 24 points, Josh Marshall had 22 and Franz Heubach finished with 13.
Toby Stone scored 21 for the Stingrays and Jacob Gavel netted 13.
In the consolation game Bridgewater edged out Shelburne 65-62 in an exciting and very closely contested match to join SMBA and AWEC at the Division 3 Provincial championships in Port Hawkesbury Feb. 27-Mar. 1.
Shelburne will host the Provincial Qualifying tournament this weekend with the top two teams advancing.