A spectacular buzzer-beating shot by MEI’s Josiah Allison highlighted an entertaining night of high school hoops at W.J. Mouat Secondary last Thursday.
With the Eagles senior boys trailing the Mouat Hawks 83-81 and the clock ticking down in the fourth quarter, Allison took a pass from point guard Mitch Krahn and swished a contested three-pointer to give his team the victory, prompting elated MEI fans to storm the court (see video, above).
“Definitely a big-time shot,” noted MEI coach Jon Schmidt, who got 40 points from Allison and 22 from Greg Krahn.
“We got the ball into the right guy’s hands. The shot was off the dribble with a hand in his face and the game on the line, and there are only a handful of players in our league who can make that type of shot.”
MEI and Mouat were both honourable mentions in the provincial AAAA rankings coming in, and the Eagles led by double digits for much of the game. The Hawks, though, rallied in the fourth to take a six-point lead with five minutes left.
MEI encountered further adversity when Grade 11 guard Jordan Loewen suffered a concussion – he was knocked down while setting a screen and hit his head on the hardwood, and was subsequently taken to hospital via ambulance. (He’s since returned home, but is still battling concussion symptoms).
The Eagles managed pull themselves together and claw back to within striking distance in the final minute, though, setting the stage for Allison’s heroics.
“It continues to build confidence into our team that we can compete with anyone in the province,” Schmidt said. “We have now beaten Mouat, Yale, and Abby this season so it is exciting to see the team do well against our Abbotsford rivals.”
MOUAT GIRLS KNOCK OFF MEI
The current rivalry between the Mouat and MEI senior girls is arguably the most compelling on the local high school basketball scene.
The Eagles edged the Hawks 58-56 in the Abby Police City Tournament title game in mid-December, and rose to No. 3 in the B.C. AAA rankings last week after making a run to the finals of the Top 10 Shootout tourney.
But Mouat, No. 6 in the provincial AAA poll, got the best of MEI in league play on Thursday, winning 67-41.
“We probably were a little bit more prepared as far as what we wanted to do,” Hawks coach Paula Thompson explained. “We full-court pressured, we were all over their guards . . . so by the time they were in our end of the court, they were too tired to do anything.”
Mouat got 19 points from Amanda Thompson and 17 from Brittany Wertman, while MEI’s Taylor Claggett, with 22 points, accounted for over half of her team’s offensive output.
“They did wear us down,” acknowledged Eagles coach Rick Thiessen, who was missing starting point guard Katie Punia due to injury and had star forward Tessa Ratzlaff in foul trouble throughout the game. “At times, we have been able to handle (their pressure defence) and actually get transition baskets, but this time we could not.”
“It’s so fun,” Paula Thompson said, reflecting on the Mouat-MEI rivalry. “The spread was pretty big, but it can swing any way on any given day. We’re well aware of that. They’re a good team, and they’ve got some great athletes out there.”