Riley Oien and Joe Davis came by their Western Canada Summer Games medals in spectacularly opposite fashions.
Oien helped the B.C. girls basketball team beat Manitoba 61-60 in the gold-medal match at the Tournament Capital Centre on Tuesday night. Davis, in the following game, helped the B.C. boys beat Manitoba 86-44 in that basketball final.
The girls final had most of the spectators chewing their fingernails for much of the fourth quarter, while the boys final was all but over after the first quarter.
Oien, who had four points in the girls' victory, was more than pleased with the victory, and was glad to be part of such an entertaining game.
B.C. held an 11-point lead four minutes into the fourth quarter, but Manitoba, led by 13-year-old Kyanna Giles of Winnipeg, fought back. The B.C. girls kept at it, and led by nine with 2:24 remaining.
Little by little, the Manitobans chipped away, and had a shot at the victory in the last five minutes, but couldn't hit the winning shot.
"It was pretty exciting," said Oien, a 14-year-old South Kamloops student. "I was screaming at the top of my lungs at the end."
Davis, on the other hand, really had no worries with his squad. He ended up with four points and five rebounds as the B.C. squad opened a 21-10 lead in the first quarter, led 43-20 at the half and ran away in the second half.
"We played well," said Davis, who is going into Grade 10 at Westsyde Secondary next month. "Great D, we pushed the ball - exactly how we wanted it to go."
The two gold medals helped Kamloops athletes run their total to 27 and also helped B.C. finish the first half of the Games with 127 - 53 of them gold.
Saskatchewan is second, with 42 gold and 104 medals. Alberta has 117 medals, 26 of them gold, with Manitoba fourth at 59 medals. Northwest Territories has three medals, while Nunavut picked up its first two medals - both bronze - on Tuesday.
Tuesday's games marked the end of an exciting summer of basketball for Davis and Oien.
The Kamloopsians spent the past two months training and traveling with Team B.C., with the WCSG marking the end of the run.
Oien felt she grew in her time with head coach Morgan McLaughlin.
"Sadly, we're all going to move on to different teams next year," Oien said. "I really bonded with some of the girls, and I think got a little more confident over the summer.
"I feel like I'm a much better player . . . coach Morgan gave me a lot by telling me to go up (to the hoop) strong and protect the ball."
Davis, meanwhile, will cherish the friendships he made with his teammates, not to mention the big-game experience he picked up.
"This is the biggest game of my life, I hope there's more to come," he said. "This has been so fun, I hope there's more moments like this."
And of course, to get some reward for the work is always nice.
"It's amazing," Davis said. "We've been practising and for it to pay off the way we wanted it to is great."
© Kamloops Daily News