But for a buzzer-beater, the Douglas College Royals had a second straight B.C. title in the bag Saturday at the PacWest men’s basketball championship final.
Instead, the host Royals can only reflect on a lightning-quick play and the deflating rollercoaster ride that ended in a heartbreaking 89-82 overtime loss to the Vancouver Island Mariners at Douglas College.
It unraveled as the team was soaking in what looked like a title-clinching jumpshot by Royals guard Courtney Anderso, with just 1.2 seconds left in regulation, giving Douglas a 72-70 lead.
Just like a bad zombie movie where the walking dead won’t die, the Mariners rose up and rallied in that short 1.2-second span to tie the game, and then carried that momentum into overtime for a heartbreaking victory for the Royals and their fans in attendance.
Tyus Barfoot’s jumper that beat the buzzer and force extra time wasn't the game-winning shot, but it certainly was the moment the game was lost.
“It came down to one well-executed play by (Vancouver Island),” recalled Douglas coach Joe Enevoldson. “They executed a great play at a crucial time and we missed an assignment. We went from an extreme high, after (Anderson’s shot), to a deep low, and never really recovered.”
The visiting Mariners entered overtime on an emotional high and outscoring the stunned Royals 17-10 in the extra period, to lock up a berth to next week’s Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Vancouver.
“Sports is a fickle thing,” added Enevoldson. “it can be exhilarating in one moment and devastating in another. … In overtime we were never out of it but we just seemed to be chasing.”
Anderson, a third-year transfer student from Vancouver, Washington's Clark College, counted 25 points, 13 rebounds and five steals as Douglas erased a 40-34 halftime deficit.
Chipping in 20 points, 12 boards and two blocks was Tyrone Asenoguan, while Dylan Kinley chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds.
Vancouver Island’s Landon Radcliff racked up 37 points en route to earning the tourney’s MVP award.
In the semifinal against the Capilano University Blues, the Royals had to overcome a 10-point hole after 10 minutes, and were down by five at halftime. A strong third quarter, where they emerged with a 69-68 lead, was just the tip of the iceberg. Douglas erupted with 30 points in the final quarter to pull out a 99-83 win.
Anderson set the tone with 26 points and seven rebounds, while Josiah Mastandrea tallied 19 points and Kinley contributed 18.
Both Anderson, a native of Palestine, Texas, and Kinley, a first-year guard from Surrey, were named to the PacWest all-star team.
While the emotions from the final were still fresh, Enevoldson said the overview was that the team had made incredible strides to be one-shot shy of going to the CCAAs as provincial champions for a second straight season. Considering the turnover, where so many new faces had to gel before the playoffs and make the step up to compete at the PacWest level, it was a great success.
“We’re in a very good spot where we only lose possibly one player (fifth-year guard and New Westminster native Sylvester Appiah) and could retain everybody else. These guys will remember this season and build on it, and certainly have an opportunity to come in motivated by it.”