Following a 30-plus point win by Brentwood College at home the previous Tuesday, the Mill Bay school and their rivals from Shawnigan Lake played to a much closer result, a 45-41 win for Brentwood, at Shawnigan last Saturday.
"Way too tight," Brentwood coach Blake Gage said. "Shawnigan, as we knew they would be, were a lot better Saturday. They were a lot tougher and they beat us on the offensive glass."
A far cry from the previous meeting, the game was tied going into the fourth quarter. A 9-0 run gave Brentwood enough of a lead to hold onto through the final buzzer. Devin Cvitanovich ended up as Brentwood’s leading scorer with 12 points. "We were definitely lucky to win that game," Gage said.
Shawnigan coach Vito Pasquale’s team was decimated by injuries going into the first game, but managed to adjust for the rematch.
"We had a chance to win it," he said. "We rebounded well. If we had rebounded well in the first game, it might not have been a 35-point loss."
The South Island AA tournament – which Brentwood will host – and the Island finals are looming for both schools, who hope to make improvements after their recent games.
"What really matters is how we play three weeks from now," Gage said. "This team is good at taking those lessons and moving forward with them. Hopefully that will help us get better."
Brentwood is ranked third on the Island despite mixed results this season after losing some big contributors last year.
"We’ll be happy to make Islands," he said.
"If we get off the Island, that will be a terrific accomplishment for this team." Shawnigan, meanwhile, will get two key bench players back from the Vegas Sevens rugby tournament, and hopes to get one injured starter back. Pasquale is trying to reassess his roster before South Islands.
"The team is totally different from what we had before Christmas," he said. "To me it feels like I’m in the first week of December. I think in two weeks we can manage to get an idea of what kind of team we can be in South Islands, and we might pull off a surprise."
Brentwood will host the Countdown to Playoffs Tournament this Friday and Saturday, featuring 16 teams, including themselves and Shawnigan. It starts on Friday morning with Brentwood taking on G.W. Graham at 10:30 a.m. "It should be a good one," Gage said. "We’ve got a lot of the top teams from all over the province."