Despite seeing their team ravaged by a flu bug last week, the Belmont Bulldogs won their way into a one-game playoff today (Feb. 17) for the final berth into the Island AAA girls high school basketball championships.
The Bulldogs play Nanaimo’s Dover Bay Dolphins in a neutral-site wild card game at Cowichan High in Duncan tonight, after beating the Spectrum Thunder 42-33 Saturday afternoon in the city playoffs at Oak Bay High.
The Island championships begin Thursday (Feb. 19) at Port Alberni secondary.
“The more games we play in a short amount of time, the more momentum we carry into it,” said Bulldogs head coach Brad Lidstone, whose team had been off from game play nearly two weeks due to provincial exams. “It’s a do or die situation, but I definitely like our chances.”
Jess Thomsen, with a team-high 12 points and 18 rebounds, and Cassy Allen, who pulled down 16 rebounds and added some key blocks and steals, gave stellar performances from the post position to lead the charge against Spectrum.
Madi Bullen chipped in 10 points in the win and Frelen Gorst, Nicole Weldam-Dickson and Miranda Llewellyn provided defensive energy.
The win was a solid turnaround from the teams’ previous meeting last Thursday, when an energy-sapped Bulldogs squad played hard but lost a nailbiter, 53-52. Isla Swanwick was the offensive standout in that game, pouring in 26 points, while Cassy Allen added 11. Thomsen was top rebounder with 13.
The game 1 loss put the Bulldogs into a Saturday morning showdown against Mount Doug, who dominated in recording a 45-25 victory.
Belmont boys secure Island tournament berth
The Belmont senior boys team, who won two of their last three regular season games to finish with a 4-8 record, won a coin toss with Mount Douglas – also 4-8 – to place fourth in the Tier 1 league standings.
Since second-place St. Michael’s and third-place Lambrick Park are smaller schools and compete in different categories than Belmont, the Bulldogs are slated to open the AAAA South Island playoffs today as the number 2 seed against those same Rams (No. 3).
Four South Island teams qualify for the Island AAAA boys tournament being held at Mount Doug Feb. 26 to 28.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to play Thursday regardless of tonight’s result. A win would see them play in the city final at 7:30 p.m. while a loss would see them play the third/fourth game starting at 5:45 p.m.