On a rainy Vancouver night, the John Oliver Jokers played host to their crosstown foe, Britannia Bruins for a regular season game. Despite being the visitor, Britannia entered this game the favourite with their #6 “AA” ranking. Battling in their home gym in front of a good crowd it was clear the Jokers were up for the challenge on the second night of a back-to-back.
Britannia tried to assert themselves early but John Oliver answered every call. Midway through the first quarter the score was 9-7 for the Bruins. The scene soon changed behind the guard play of the Bruins #0 Josh Kagande and #22 Kobe McKnight. First it was the crafty left handed passing and creating ability of #0 Josh Kagande who fed #25 Jalen Williams for a number of easy buckets under the hoop. Next it was #22 Kobe McKnight slashing to the rim and going by defenders to get the score moving for the Bruins. Despite their offence clicking, it was the Bruin’s full court defence that rushed the John Oliver players into a number of turnovers over the next five minutes. By the end of the first quarter, the Bruins led 22-10.
#25 Jalen Williams scored the first bucket of the half with a nice reverse layup for the Bruins. The Jokers answered behind #22 Saad Al-Mridha who hit an open jumper to move the scoreboard. In the middle of the quarter #0 Josh Kagande erupted in a flurry of action starting with back-to-back lay-ups, followed by a rebound and long lead pass to #22___, followed by shooting a passing gap for a steal and one more lay-up all in succession. John Oliver got back on track behind a runner from #12 Shaan Pannu. #23 Charles Leeson of Britannia got some action knocking down a contested jumper by rising over the defender. On the next play #22 Kobe McKnight was fouled on a three pointer and proceeded to knock down all three freethrows without hardly grazing the rim. The Jokers ended the quarter with a bucket from #23 Karnvir Dhillon and “3” from #24 Karn Hallen.
John Oliver came out for the last quarter hustling, with #34 Karan Dhesi grabbing an offensive rebound for a putback followed by #9 Ajay Bacani scoring on the next play - a result of two of his teammates diving for loose balls and giving him the opportunity for an “and-1”. Britannia got some nice inside-out action against the John Oliver zone that freed #19 Jadon Wanless for a wide open “3”.
Unfortunately, #34 Karan Dhesi of John Oliver went down midway through the fourth quarter with what looked to be a bad knee injury. He stayed on the court for an extended period of time before being helped off the court by coaches, teammates and members of the stands. The Vancouver Basketball Community wishes Karan a quick recovery.
The game returned after the stoppage with JO getting buckets from #4 Kabir Dulai on a reverse layup and two floaters from #7 Aman Mundi. For Brit it was #6 Eric Truong who got a left handed layup to fall high off the backboard and #13 Hao Want using some flashy ball handling to open himself up for a layup. By the end the final score was 88-53 in favour of the Bruins.
The Bruins are now 4-0 in league play while the Jokers drop to 1-3. Britannia will play Van Tech in an exhibition game Monday before taking on the 2A/3A West Division leader King George(4-0) in a regular season game on Wednesday. The Jokers return to the court playing Templeton and Prince of Wales in their two regular season games next week.