It’s been a busy stretch of games during the past two weeks for the Chemainus Cougars senior boys basketball team.
Victories remain elusive for the Cougars, but not from a lack of trying.
They were at the John Barsby tournament in Nanaimo Jan. 18 and 19 and went down to three straight defeats.
Opening against Edward Milne Community School of Sooke, the Cougars fell 85-43.
C.J. Loranger had a great game in the defeat, with a trio of three-point shots and two free throws to finish with 13 points. Will Ngenda was also a force with 11 points while pulling down six defensive rebounds and two offensive rebounds.
The Cougars made 50 per cent of their free throws in the game, going seven for 14.
They dug themselves a huge deficit early, falling behind 26-9 after the first quarter, but bounced back in the second quarter with a 22-5 run and tied the game 31-31 at the half.
“Our defense allowed only five points in 10 minutes,” noted Graeme Arkell, assistant coach to Kyle Peruniak.
Unfortunately, the Cougars couldn’t keep it going in the second half.
Their three-point shooting accuracy was off the mark with four baskets from 17 attempts and Edward Milne took full advantage of their 14 turnovers.
In the second game against Timberline of Campbell River, the Cougars were in contention from start to finish but still dropped a 51-38 decision.
Mark Harris was on top of his game with 14 points, nine defensive rebounds and four offensive rebounds. Matt Simpson scored on all of his three-point shots and free throw attempts and finished with 11 points.
The Cougars were solid in defensive rebounding with 24 and had 14 steals. Three-point shooting again let them down, with only two successful shots in 11 attempts and 16 turnovers didn’t help their cause.
A third game against Ballenas of Parksville also resulted in a loss.
The Cougars went right into a home game against Gaglardi last Tuesday and were narrowly edged 58-51.
Similar to the Edward Milne game, the Cougars found themselves in a big early hole with a 12-4 deficit after the first quarter. But they came back to take the lead in the second quarter before Gaglardi pulled back in front 27-23 at the half.
Gaglardi went up 44-34 after the third quarter before the Cougars closed the gap again in the fourth.
Simpson was on fire with 26 points for the Cougars that included two three-pointers and four free throws. Loranger contributed 11 points on three three-pointers and two free throws.
The Cougars were strong in driving to the hoop on offense, especially from the baseline, and showed patience with the ball under the leadership of captain Simpson’s play calling and encouragement for his teammates.
On the weakness side, Arkell noted “boxing out on defense, telegraphing passes (not enough fakes), and a lethargic start to the game,” were factors.
The Cougars are gearing toward the South Island Championships that are coming up fast on Feb. 12 and 13.