Jones, Church cart off WLA awards booty

If it's the end of the Western Lacrosse Association's regular season, then it must be time for the slow roll-out of the league annual awards.

The first announcement shines a light on two local players, with New Westminster's Mitch Jones walking off with the Denny Huddleston Memorial Award as the league's regular season scoring leader, while the Burnaby Lakers' Robert Church picked up the league's Regular Season Three-Star Award.

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Up until the last game, the scoring title was a tight competition between Jones and Church.

But New West's scoring leader set a red-hot pace to wrap up the season, tallying nine goals and six assists over two games to earn the WLA's Player of the Week honours for a second time. With his 10-point game coming in the playoff-clinching win over Victoria Shamrocks a week ago, the 26-year-old Jones leapfrogged past Church to capture the title. The New West power forward ended the year with 90 points, including 31 goals and 59 assists.

A Delta native, Jones replicated the same total from last season, when he tallied 39 goals and 51 assists for the 2018 regular season champion 'Bellies. This year's team finished third overall in the tight WLA playoff race, and opened the playoffs Wednesday by thrashing Maple Ridge 14-4 at the Cam Neely Arena.

Church, meanwhile, led the Lakers' offence with a league-best 43 goals and 44 assists.

In the second-to-last week of the regular season, the Coquitlam native struck for seven goals and nine assists over two games to earn his second WLA Player of the Week award.

Despite Church's leadership, the Lakers fell just short of qualifying for the post-season, tying Nanaimo 8-8 in both teams final game of the regular season to finish deadlocked with 10-7-1 records. Nanaimo advanced on the basis of head-to-head play.

The league will unveil the winners of the Ed Bayley Memorial Rookie of the Year, Dorothy Robertson Coach of the Year, Les Wingrove Memorial Defensive Player of the Year, Leo Nicholson Memorial Goaltender of the Year awards and Commissioner Trophy for MVP, as well as the first and second all-star teams, in the coming days.

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