Blue Jags a model of perfection

The same goes for a scoresheet in basketball.

St. Michaels University School kept its perfect string alive with a ninth straight win early this high school season as Ian Hyde-Lay’s senior boys Blue Jags defeated the Campbell Collegiate Tartans 68-49 in the early semifinal at the Gary Taylor Invitational tournament at Oak Bay on Friday night.

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Both teams struggled to score early in the first and second halves, but the Jags eventually got untracked and relentless, high-pressure defence sent the Saskatchewan visitors into the bronze-medal game.

“To Campbell’s defence, their best post player wasn’t here because of mono and one of their key wing players [Matt Hughes] rolled his ankle late in the second quarter,” said Hyde-Lay, whose team will now face the Oak Bay Bays in tonight’s final (6 p.m.). Oak Bay defeated Vancouver College 77-63 in the other semifinal.

“Having said all of that, we did some nice things offensively. Yeah, it was a very slow start as both teams were pitching shutouts in the first five minutes. But it’s another step.”

The Blue Jags are No. 1 in double-A in the province and have proved why early this season.

“We’re going along well right now. The defence has been pretty solid. We haven’t shot the ball real well just yet, but we’re making strides in the right direction,” Hyde-Lay said.

“Our guys have been working real hard and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”

With SMUS up 37-26 at the half, both teams came out stone cold before Dawit Workie buried a three for the Jags just over two minutes in which led to a 9-0 run. The Tartans failed to respond until Tommy Soltys hit one of two from the charity stripe 4:38 in. Connor Gorman also hit one of two at the free-throw line as Campbell trailed 49-28.

The Tartans, who made the trip from Saskatoon, were outscored 15-7 in that third quarter to fall behind 52-33, finally going on a 9-1 run.

The teams started exchanging threes during an offensive stretch and Steven Macera pulled off a nice, little power move inside as the Tartans cut it to 60-45.

Gorman led the way for Campbell with a game-high 19 points, while Workie and Mark Yorath had 15 each for SMUS. Matt Rud and Mac Catto chipped in with 10 each for the Blue Jags.

“The key run came with that 9-0 stretch, that sort of got us the cushion and it went from 20 to 12 and back up,” said Hyde-Lay.

The Tartans never really got untracked, except for that 9-1 run that was snuffed by another three-bomb from Workie and the SMUS defence didn’t let up.

“We can guard the three better than we did tonight,” said Hyde-Lay. “But we’re lucky, we have three very quick and smart guards who put a lot of pressure on the ball and our defensive post play is better.

“We can’t complain. I’m really enjoying where we are so far.”

The Bays, ranked No. 10 in B.C. among triple-A teams, got 26 points from Matt Hampton in their victory over Van College. And they were kind of thinking they would see SMUS before the weekend was out.

“We always seem to find each other,” Oak Bay coach Chris Franklin said.

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