The Fort Frances Men’s Basketball League saw two tight defensive semi-final games played Tuesday night at Fort High.
Only one of the four semi-final teams were able to break the 50-point barrier and unfortunately for all those watching the games, they also saw a number of significant injuries take place as players gave it their all on the court.
The first semi-final saw the top-ranked RBC Lions squaring off against the fifth-place Revco Renegades.
RBC barely managed to field five players for the game, with their fifth showing up just moments before tip-off.
Right from the start of the game, it became clear that Brady Jensen had the hot hand for the Lions as he put on an incredible display of shooting that was admired by players on both sides of the floor.
While Revco spread the points around in the first half, with Brad Wardas driving for 10 points and Dominic States shooting three-pointers and deep shots for a total of 11, Jensen put up 23 of his team’s 31 first-half points as the teams went into halftime tied at 31-31.
As the second half began, the Renegades kept pushing their height and rebounding advantage and started pulling away.
They also had the advantage of having two subs, at least until Payne Hunter injured himself diving for a ball heading out of bounds, which resulted in him crashing into the wall.
Hunter was forced to leave the game with a serious shoulder injury.
Jensen cooled off in the second half for RBC but still ended up with a game-high 36 points.
States kept heating up, though, ending up with a team-high and season-high 27 points to pace Revco to a 63-50 win.
The Renegades now book their ticket to the gold-medal game for the second-straight year.
The second semi-final featured second-place Sunset Landscaping battling the third-place BDO Ballerz.
Both Sunset and BDO fought hard the two times they played each other during the regular season, and the stage was set for another intense game as both teams had a couple of subs each.
Josh Mastin started the game in his usual dominant fashion, scoring Sunset’s first seven points and he looked ready to help his team run away with the game.
Unfortunately, while coming down from a shot, he landed on a defender’s foot–rolling his ankle in the process and had to leave the court in serious pain.
Mastin was unable to return, which was a huge blow for someone who has played so well all season and for a Sunset team that relied on his offensive skills.
That absence seemed to spark the BDO’s offence as Jordan Lavallee started connecting from beyond-the-arc, nailing four three-pointers in short order to give the Ballerz the lead.
Chris Wall, to the delight of his cheering fan club, put in some inside buckets in the first half and–combined with the fact that Sunset just couldn’t get the ball to drop–helped BDO to a comfortable 30-17 lead at the half.
The second half of the game proved to be more of a defensive battle as Sunset continued to struggle to score while Lavallee also injured his ankle and was unable to produce much offence after that.
In fact, for almost a three-minute span, neither team scored a point.
Sunset eventually trimmed the gap to 10 points late in the game and were down only 38-28.
But they just couldn’t generate enough offence and, with two players fouled out in the last few minutes, ended up losing 48-35 to a BDO team that is reaching the league final for the very first time.
Lavallee led all BDO scorers with 15 points, followed by veteran Rob McGinnis who had 12.
Kevin Gemmell led all Sunset scorers with 11 points.
The stage now is set for next week’s gold- and bronze-medal games.
RBC will take on Sunset Landscaping for bronze at 6:45 p.m., with the gold-medal showdown between BDO and Revco starting at 8 p.m.
“We will celebrate the end to a great season with some food in the atrium afterwards, around 9 p.m.,” said league co-ordinator Conrad Dueck.
“Looking forward to seeing as many of this year’s players and fans out as possible.
“And please, if you have a jersey that belongs to the league, they need to be returned,” he stressed.
“Even if you haven’t played for a while, come and drop them off on Tuesday night or give them to a league player this week who will be there.
“Jerseys cost $30 each and they aren’t yours to keep but need to be reused next year,” Dueck said.