BY JOHN DECOSTE
Make it three provincial gold medals for Hantsport Minor Basketball.
The Hantsport mini girls joined the midget girls and mini boys as provincial champions, defeating Bedford 48-39 in the Division 4 final April 5 on their home court in Hantsport.
Previously in the tournament, Hantsport edged Prospect 48-46, topped Bedford 39-28 then overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to edge Sackville 44-41 in the semi-finals.
Hantsport coach Casey Vandertoorn was pleased both with the play of the Hantsport team and the overall quality of the tournament.
The VEBA midget boys settled for silver at their provincial tournament in Sackville the same weekend. Head coach Bob McGill said it was probably the most competitive provincials he had ever competed in.
In their opener, VEBA, which competed in the Metro Basketball League this winter, defeated Halifax Osprey 73-70, with Jeff Mollins scoring 23 points and Garrett Pearson adding 17.
In their second game, VEBA topped Clayton Park 71-63, with Andrew Jennings-Lindsay leading the way with 21 points.
VEBA improved to 3-0 by edging St. Margaret’s Bay 84-83, led by 29 points and 24 rebounds from Jalen Sabean.
This advanced VEBA to the semi-finals, where they edged the host Sackville Storm 70-67. Jennings-Lindsay led the offense with 28 points.
Stepped up their game
The final pitted VEBA against the West End Steelers, who ended up claiming a 57-46 victory. Mollins had 17 points in a losing effort.
McGill noted, “all the VEBA players stepped up their game when we needed it.” In addition to Sabean and Jennings-Lindsay (who earned an all-star award), Will Stewart contributed some key rebounding and Mollins and Keigan McGill some clutch perimeter shooting. “I couldn’t have been prouder of this team,” McGill said. “They showed a lot of heart and pride when a lot of teams might have given up.” VEBA, he added, was the only team within 20 points of the Steelers all weekend.
The Hantsport bantam boys competed in their provincial tournament in North Preston, reaching the final before dropping a 66-59 decision to the host team and settling for silver medals.
VEBA competed in the bantam boys’ Division 2 provincials, finishing with a record of one win and two losses and failing to advance to the playoffs.
VEBA’s Alex Thomas was named a tournament all-star after averaging 20 points per game.
Trent Oickle, Sam Bigelow, Michael Boylen and Bradley Fuller had strong tournaments also for VEBA. According to coach Jane Schofield, both Boylen and Fuller “played their best three games of the season.”