GUELPH — Two down, one to go.
The Lourdes Crusaders achieved the second of three goals for this season Monday night in the Bishop Macdonell high school gym, cruising to a 68-48 victory over Walkerton’s Sacred Heart Crusaders in the regional CWOSSA AA senior boys basketball final.
Next up on the to-do list is to improve on last year’s showing at the provincial OFSAA AA tournament next week in St. Catharines.
“We wanted to win District 10, win CWOSSA and then get to the playoff round at OFSAA,” coach Scott Robinson said.
“We only lost one player from last year. Everyone else came back and we have four new juniors so I’d say we’re a better team than last year. Certainly more experienced,” Robinson said.
Lourdes went 1-2 at last year’s OFSAA tournament. He’s hoping the Crusaders will be seeded in the top 10 when round-robin play gets underway Monday.
“We’ve had a really good year,” said guard Mike Finoro, who led all scorers with 18 points in Monday’s championship game.
“We’re pretty much the same team, but we have better chemistry. We’re also peaking at the right time and we hope we can carry that into OFSAA.”
After hanging with Lourdes for the first six or seven minutes of the game, Sacred Heart proved little match for the balanced, deep and athletic Guelph squad.
Guelph led 22-12 after one quarter and 40-22 after two.
Sacred Heart actually outscored Lourdes 11-10 in the third quarter, as Robinson went deep into his bench to spread the playing time, but Lourdes bounced back and finished things off with an 18-point fourth quarter.
Sharieff Peru (12) and Jordan Trimble (11) also hit double figures for Lourdes.
Benjamin Carroll had 17 to lead Sacred Heart in scoring.
While pleased with the offensive showing, Robinson wasn’t too thrilled with his team’s defensive effort.
He acknowledged that his players were likely looking beyond the CWOSSA final once they established a healthy lead, but he cautioned against thinking it’s okay to turn on the defence when needed.
“Competition definitely gets tougher from here on end and the longer you let a team hang around, the more confident an underdog gets,” the coach said. “Everyone likes to play offence. It’s the real champions that play with the same intensity at both ends of the floor.”
Earlier in the day Lourdes beat Owen Sound 68-57 in the semifinals. Sacred Heart advanced by beating Wellington Heights 68-31.
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