Members of the Belmont Bulldogs senior boys basketball team can only think about next year, after losing two straight games at the Island AAAA championships last week at Mount Doug secondary.
The Bulldogs waged a wire-to-wire battle with city league rival Claremont on Friday, only to lose 59-56 in the end.
The teams were within a few baskets for much of the game. Belmont guard Tibias Hayward coolly sunk a pair of free throws with just over a minute left to pull the Bulldogs within a point at 57-56, but Claremont managed to hang on for the victory.
Ryan Backhouse was selected player of the game for Belmont after scoring 15 points, while teammate Nathan Zaragoza had 16.
The Bulldogs had a case of iron fever in the first game Thursday, a 64-35 loss to surprise eventual runner-up Dover Bay from Nanaimo. The game was scoreless for nearly five minutes, but once the goose eggs were broken, Belmont players found themselves rimming out on a number of shots.
The Dolphins extended their scrawny 26-16 halftime lead to 43-25 by the end of three quarters, then kept hitting shots in the fourth to add to it. Jackson Leeder topped the Belmont scoresheet with eight points.
Dover Bay, who came in as the No. 3 seed from the North, went on to beat North Island champion Vanier 76-64 in the semis, but lost 98-68 to Oak Bay in the Saturday’s final.