Article By: Darryl G. Smart
Call it a coaching masterpiece, a defensive stalemate - or just plain ugly. However you look at Tuesday night's game, the Assumption College Lions are heading to the BCSSAA senior boys basketball semifinals on Thursday.
Andre Toic was the only player in double digits, as his 14 points led the Lions to a 25-21 win over the Paris Panthers
"It wasn't pretty, that's for sure," Lions head coach Paul Petrella said. "In fact, it was pretty ugly at times."
The quarter-final matchup pitted two teams with identical 3-7 regular season records.
With both teams struggling and at times looking like as if there was a clear lid over both baskets, the Lions jumped to a 4-2 lead they never gave up. After the first quarter they led 6-2 and held on to a 13-6 halftime lead before the Panthers awoke from its slumber to make a game out of it.
After finally getting into double digits with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Panthers seemed to grab a bit of the momentum.
With the Panthers slowly trying to chip away and the Lions barely budging, Taylor Shipp hit a three-pointer with 8.5 seconds left to make it a four-point game.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end and that's all you can ask for," Panthers coach Mike Whittchen said. "We knew it would come down to defence because I think coming into the game both teams realized how limited they are when it comes to scoring."
But with no offensive rebounding from any Panthers throughout the game, Toic and the Lions were able to keep the game at their pace.
"Both teams knew what they had to do to win," Petrella said. "Both teams knew defence would win this game and both teams played extremely well on that side of the ball and the score was an indication of that."
Nolan Drong added eight points in the win, while Mike Thomlison and Nathan Robinson had one each.
Shipp led all Panthers scorers with seven points, while Jake Kelley netted six, Parker McIntyre had five and Harji Gill added three.
With the win, the Lions improbable season continues with a semifinal appearance against the top-seeded and undefeated North Park Collegiate Trojans. Unfortunately for the Lions, they'll be more than likely doing it without Toic, who has prior commitments.
"It's been a year of real ups and downs,' Petrella said. "It's nice that we're able to get passed the quarter-final. It's a tribute to the kids that have showed up and worked hard."
In the other quarter-final, the Brantford Collegiate Mustangs punched its ticket for a semifinal date with the St. John's College Green Eagles thanks to a 53-38 win over the Pauline Johnson Collegiate Thunderbirds.
Mackenzie Mark and Ben Candy led the Mustangs with 11 points each, while Chris Gorski added 10.
Tyler Campbell's 17 points led the Thunderbirds, while Dakota Robinson netted six.
JUNIOR - Assumption 89, Paris 42
ACS: Tanner Baldin 19, Brandon Vincent 16, Ron Taylor 16, Mike Heron 10.
Paris: Ryan Campbell 13, Isaac Sollazo 11, Corey Boehmer 8.
JUNIOR - BCI 65, PJC 31
BCI: Tristan Almas 18, Jamaal Jones-Peters 12, Noel Bomberry 9. PJC: Alex Kwan 9, Dakota Johnson 6, Scott Sobczyk 5.
Semifinals JUNIOR BCI vs NPC,, 6:30 p.m. ACS vs SJC, 6:30 p.m.
Senior ACS vs NPC, 8 p.m. BCI vs SJC, 8 p.m.
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