Mitchell Bell of the Prince Charles Secondary School Comets defends against Nakusp on Feb. 1.

Mitchell Bell of the Prince Charles Secondary School Comets defends against Nakusp on Feb. 1.

PCSS senior boys place second in Creston basketball tourney

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Two wins in three games gave the Prince Charles Secondary School Comets a runner-up finish in their home senior boys’ basketball tournament on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

Selkirk of Kimberley topped the four-team round-robin with a perfect 3-0 record, with PCSS winding up 2-1 on the strength of victories against Stanley Humphries of Castlegar and Nakusp.

Missing a pair of Grade 12 starters — Kieran Poznikoff due to injury and Riley Hills due to illness — forced coach Doug Dortman to give his bench more playing time, which should only benefit the team’s depth during its stretch run to the playoffs.

“It was a positive outcome for the second-stringers,” Dortman said. “We got to run our plays and assess where they played the best. It was good practice for them.

“Everybody on the floor scored in the last game, not just the starters.”

A pair of Grade 11s promoted to replace Poznikoff and Hills among the starting five — Donovan Osterreicher and Mitchell Bell — were named players-of-the-game in Creston’s first two matchups, including an opening one-point defeat to Kimberley in front of the student body Jan. 31.

PCSS couldn’t hold a 14-point, third-quarter lead in that one, though it was clinging to a one-point edge with 20 seconds left on the clock and possession of the ball.

Dortman called a timeout to clarify the plan: inbound the ball and maintain possession until fouled or time expired, whichever came first. Instead, a shot was attempted not once but twice. Selkirk rebounded the second try with 15 seconds left and stormed down the court to sink the winning basket in a 63-62 upset.

“You can’t write what I said. I couldn’t believe it,” Dortman said of the decisive turnover. “Hang onto the ball, pass it around a couple times and run the clock out. It’s frustrating.”

The Comets still had 3.5 seconds to work with but a potential buzzer-beater fell off the rim.

Osterreicher netted 12 points for PCSS.

The defeat snapped a six-game winning streak but the Comets promptly started a new one Feb. 1. Bell was player-of-the-game in an 83-22 blowout of Nakusp.

“He played basically the whole game. He rebounded well, blocked out well and had 10 points,” said Dortman, who seized the chance to get more playing time for a couple of projected starters in the 2014-15 season, with most of this year’s lineup due to graduate.

“(I’m) trying to get him and Donovan rounded up for next year too.”

Jared Kuny netted 17 points in the first quarter alone on his way to a 28-point outing, including a handful of trademark three-pointers.

Nonetheless, the outcome could have been even more lopsided.

“We missed 42 shots in that game,” Dortman said. “I bet 20 of them were in the paint.”

Osterreicher added 15 points and hit double digits in steals.

Sunny Oler earned player-of-the-game honours in an 86-56 romp over Stanley Humphries, contributing numerous rebounds and adding a few baskets of his own.

The Comets expect to play a home-and-home series with Stanley Humphries plus a couple of games at Mt. Sentinel in South Slocan prior to their next tournament, Feb. 14 and 15 in Fernie, leading up to the East Kootenay AA championships in Golden the following weekend.

Golden, Kimberley, David Thompson of Invermere and Stanley Humphries (crossing over from the West Kootenay, which doesn’t have any other AA teams this year) will be vying for a berth in the provincials.

The PCSS Blue Stars, meanwhile, hosted a senior girls’ tournament on the weekend, dropping three games, including a narrow 43-41 decision to Nakusp. The Blue Stars also lost 67-33 to Selkirk and 66-28 to Bonners Ferry.

Courtney Valer and Emily Simpson were high scorers for PCSS.