Chemainus Secondary School Cougars succeeded in their winner-take-all battle for a spot in the Island A senior boys basketball championships.
The Cougars won their challenge game over Campbell River Christian School 58-40 Friday at Kwalikum Secondary School, a neutral site.
Matt Simpson had the hot hand for the victors with 19 points while Mark Harris contributed 13 and C.J. Loranger also reached double figures with 10 that included a pair of three-pointers.
Chemainus had a reduced roster, with five players unavailable for duty, but “everybody stepped up,” according to Graeme Arkell, assistant coach to Kyle Peruniak.
With captain Simpson leading the way, “the boys drove in hard offensively to the hoop,” added Arkell.
The Cougars had a fast start to the game with accurate passing – especially on quick outlet passes – and excellent offensive drives to the hoop primarily by Simpson and Harris.
The inability to box out on defense and discipline caused problems. Loranger had five fouls, including a technical, and had to leave the game in the fourth quarter while Simpson and Jack Miller also got into foul trouble with four and three fouls, respectively.
The Cougars open play at the Island tournament against highly-regarded Nanaimo Christian School Thursday at 6 p.m. All the Island tournament games are being played at Glenlyon Norfolk in Victoria.