Last weekend the Varsity team competed in the Western Conference Championship Tournament in Seattle, WA. The tournament was great and offered the last chance for the Varsity team to try and qualify for the Varsity National Championship Tournament in Denver.
The team opened the tournament against the Rancho Renegades, from Los Angeles.
Rancho had already qualified for the National tournament with their win at the Western Regional Tournament that BORP hosted in Feb. Rancho also came into the tournament ranked # 6 in the country and has always been a stumbling block for the Cruisers.
The Renegades came out and pressed the entire game, and the Cruisers worked together to break it. Chris and Zach continued to set picks and get the offense moving. Mackenzie, Koda and James put the points on the board. Unfortunately, once again, Rancho was just too big and too fast and pulled away to a 63-48 win.
Next up, the Phoenix Jr. Suns. Against Phoenix, the tables were turned. This season the Cruisers have been able to control the tempo of the game and push the pace against the Jr. Suns. The Cruisers opened up an early lead and never turned back. Zach was able to shut down the transition game and Koda and James pressured the ball. Mackenzie and Chris pulled rebounds and added to the scoring. James was able to run the court with ease and when the Jr. Suns were able to shut his transition game down, he was able to find his teammates open for easy points. The Cruisers went on to post a 53-23 win.
The Cruisers rounded Saturday out with a game against the Seattle Jr. Sonics. This was the first game this year against the Jr. Sonics and on paper, the teams matched up great. Unfortunately for the Jr. Sonics, the game is not played on paper.
From the tip, the Cruisers controlled every element of the game. James used his speed to push the pace and with picks from Zach and Chris, he had the open court ahead of him. The Sonics needed to dedicate two more people to try and slow him down, leaving Chris, Koda, and Mackenzie to find themselves open. The Cruisers pulled away to a 52-32 victory and put themselves in a position to advance to the finals with one more victory.
Sunday’s match-up was basically a one game play-off. If the Cruisers could pull off a win over Spokane, they would qualify for Nationals. Simply put, Spokane was in the very same position. The first five minutes of the game were amazing. The pace was fast and physical. James and Mackenzie scored early to match point for point with Spokane, and neither team was willing to give in.
Finally, Spokane was able to trap James (literally) and the turnovers started mounting. Spokane pulled away to a 15 point lead by halftime. As the second half opened, the Cruisers controlled the boards and Mackenzie had every rebound that was anywhere near her.
Zach continued to stop the transition game and Koda and Chris closed the gap to 10 points at five minutes in. Unfortunately the pace could not continue and Spokane regained their composure. They were able to shut James down, something that had not been done all year, and pull away to a 52-33 victory.
The loss to Spokane eliminated the Cruisers for that Championship game and forced the Cruisers to immediately play against the Jr. Sonics again for 3rd place.
As it turns out, James saved all his offensive abilities for the final game. He opened up the game scoring the first 15 points for the Cruisers, and disrupting the Jr. Sonics offense single-handedly. Zach and Mackenzie grabbed rebounds and eliminated any second chance the Jr. Sonics had. Chris and Koda added scoring to keep Seattle honest and make them pay for double-teaming James. The second half was more of the same, James continued to run the court at will, and even after the Jr. Sonics mounted a strong comeback, it just wasn’t enough. James was able to play one of the most incredible games ever, leading the team with 52 points. The Cruisers pulled away to post a 69-53 victory to take 3rd in the West Coast Conference.
James was named to the Western Conference Tournament All-Tournament Team and it was a fitting end to the season for the Varsity team.
Thanks to Loren Bohnett and Aric Ahlstrom for all the help during the trip. As we arrived in Seattle, Loren had planned a ferry trip out in Seattle to give the kids a chance to see the city. It was colder than anything, with the most amazing view of Seattle. It was great having the kids see a little more than a gym and hotel on a trip.