The Oak Bay High hardwood mantra might be: Have ball, will spike.
The Oak Bay diggers and setters did their thing over the weekend as both the boys' and girls' volleyball teams advanced to their respective B.C. championship tournaments.
The vigour of the Oak Bay boys program - which over the years has produced Road to Rio 2016 Canadian national team brothers Josh and Marc Howatson - continued unabated in sweeping to the Island triple-A championship in Courtenay with a victory in the final over the Ballenas Whalers of Parksville.
Defending B.C.-champion Oak Bay, ranked No. 3 in the province this year, will go for another crown Nov. 28-Dec. 1 in Kelowna. Joining from the Island at the provincials will be the other qualifiers Ballenas, Nanaimo's Dover Bay and Belmont.
"We're not a huge team but we pass extremely well and our defence is exceptional," said Oak Bay head coach Al Carmichael, who has guided the school to B.C. titles in 2006 and 2011.
"We simply wear teams down."
Setter Leon Young of Oak Bay was Island tournament MVP, while Elion Wong and Lars Bornemann were also outstanding for the green and white.
"Both Elion and Lars should be on CIS teams next year," said Carmichael.
"Elion [Wong is the provincial team libero] is the best back row player coming out of high school this year in B.C. by far."
Carmichael pointed to his feeder system - from Oak Bay and Lansdowne middle schools - as being crucial to Oak Bay High's success.
Meanwhile, the Oak Bay girls finished second to G.P. Vanier of Courtenay in the Island girls' quad-A championship held at Dover Bay in Naniamo with both schools advancing to the B.C. championship Nov. 28-Dec. 1 at Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam.
"We have an interesting group this season," said Oak Bay head coach Jason Johnson.
"We have no stars but 12 highly consistent players."
Island tournament play was sharp, added Johnson.
"The top-four teams this year were highly competitive," he said.
Meghan Ireland of provincial top-10 ranked Vanier was named Island tournament MVP.
The Howatson legacy at Oak Bay lives on with sister Rachel Howatson named to the Island all-star team, along with Bays teammate Jasmere Dhillon, Jamie Neill of Vanier, Tamara Bonsdorf of Belmont and Carlena Chahley of Dover Bay.
Belmont placed third, Mount Douglas fourth, Dover Bay fifth, Cowichan sixth, Stelly's seventh and Reynolds eighth.
The Pacific Christian Pacers, always a potent force under coach Neil Ryan and currently ranked No. 4 in B.C., won the Island double-A boys' title by defeating Highland of Comox in the final. PCS, Highland and Gulf Islands advanced to the B.C. championship Nov. 28-Dec. 1 in Kelowna.
In the girls' Island double-A championship hosted by St. Michaels University School, coach Chris Koutougos' defending champion Lambrick Park Pride defeated Brentwood College in the final.
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