Photo left: Rock Island player Mike Flewelling throws up the last-second winning basket as Rock Island came from behind to beat Mota Automotive 68-66 to repeat as TMBL champions. Right: Rock Island celebrates. Back row from left: Brody Klenk

TMBL: Rock Island repeats in thriller over Mota

Defending champs Rock Island took the game from Mota Automotive with seconds left on the clock

Rock Island’s timing was impeccable. The Trail Men’s Basketball League’s defending champion battled back all night against Mota Automotive, scoring the go-ahead basket with mere seconds left on the clock to repeat as TMBL champions on Monday at the RSS Gym in Rossland.

Down 66-64 with time winding down, Rock Island’s Mike Flewelling was fouled and went to the free-throw line with the championship game hanging in the balance. Flewelling stepped up and drained the first basket to pull the Tape Centre within one. But on his second attempt, the ball clunked off the rim, bounced off a couple rebounders, and, somehow landed back in Rock Island’s possession.

“It was kind of a scrambly play, everyone was kind of all over the place,” said Flewelling. “Defence was scrambling, we were scrambling at the ball.”

Rock Island worked the ball around the perimeter looking for a clean shot, when Mota redirected a pass, almost forcing the turnover. But Flewelling corralled the pill in the paint, and made an incredible off-balance shot to put the Rock up 67-66.

“I saw Wayne and I just had to attack. There was probably 15 seconds left, so it almost seemed that everyone was hesitant to take the final shot, but someone had to do it I guess.”

Mota had time to in-bounds the ball and have one more shot, but a steal at mid-court by Kade James sunk Mota’s hopes. James was then fouled with 0.6 seconds remaining and after sinking his first basket, he threw the ball off the backboard to prevent a last gasp from Mota.

“It was an emotional game, it always is when we play them,” said Flewelling. “A lot of talking back and forth, we’re both very competitive teams so it gets emotional at times I guess.”

Mota threatened to run away with the game many times over the course of the match. They jumped out to a 21-15 lead before Rock Island went on a 9-0 run to go up 24-21.

Mota surged ahead again, rolling to a 39-31 advantage at half time. However, Rock Island refused to go quietly, as the lead changed throughout the second half. Rock Island’s James hit a three-point play on a hoop-and-harm to give the Rock a 60-58 edge with six minutes to play, but Mota’s Kyle Soukeroff finished a couple of dazzling runs with back-to-back lay-ups to put Mota ahead 66-61 with 2:44 left on the clock.

Mota had their chances to put the game away, but missed opportunities combined with stellar defence from twin towers Jacob Knight and Brian Dimaio gave Rock Island the window they needed as they pulled to within two to set up Flewelling’s last-minute heroics.

“Everyone was really good,” said Flewelling of his teammates. “All year everyone is playing with six or seven guys so coming down to the end you have to kind of dig in, everyone’s super tired, but  everyone did that.”

James led the Rock in scoring with 16 points, Dimaio netted eight, and Brody Klenk added three from long distance, while Stephen Mota sunk 26 points for Mota and Soukeroff 17.

In the match for third place, Rossland defeated Northport 65-59.

Just Posted

Extensive road repair nears completion in Fruitvale

The scope of work includes new water and sewer service connections as well as road resurfacing

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

Christmas blooms in downtown Trail

The Artisan Craft Co-op recently celebrated its 30th anniversary in downtown Trail

Community invited to check out mining trade show in Trail

Trade show free and open public on Wednesday and Thursday in the Trail Memorial Centre

Grand Forks to receive business recovery funds post-flood

The community will receive two Rural Dividends grants for a total of $655,000.

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Most Read