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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Junior: Luke Santi Memorial Tournament Set for Tomorrow

The 22nd annual Resurrection Phoenix / Luke Santi Memorial Tournament is set to go for tomorrow at Resurrection CSS in Kitchener.

The tournament is in its 5th year as its current name, which was changed to honour former RCSS student (and junior basketball player) Luke Santi, who passed away in 2007 following a courageous battle with cancer.

Arguably, this is the best field assembled for a junior basketball tournament in the region this year, with several provincially ranked teams. 

The tournament favourites are the Holy Trinity (Oakville) Titans, who have been ranked as high as #4 in the Hooptowngta.com rankings.  The Titans, led by 5'10" guard Kimbal McKenzie, enter with a record of 38-4, and have a bit of "swag" as well, as evidenced by their team introduction video:

Not to be discounted are the Jean Vanier Jaguars out of Richmond Hill, who have also been ranked in the GTA and provincially this season.  The Jaguars are coming off a successful outing at the very competitive Ontario All-Catholic junior tournament, where they took home the consolation title (after beating CWOSSA's Waterloo St. David in the consolation semifinals 56-26).

The Jaguars have lost only one game in YRAA play, to the highly regarded Vaughan Voyageurs (by 5 points).  PG JJ Silva, swingman Jaaden Lewis and "point forward" Nick McKee are three players to watch.

Another team that could make some noise are the St. Christopher (Sarnia) Cyclones, who enter the tournament with a spotless 14-0 record in LSSAA play.  The Cyclones have two players who did some damage at last year's tournament, as Josh Elsley (14.3 PPG, 4th) and Sam Ellenor (13.3 PPG, T-6th) were among the tournament's scoring leaders.

Another Sarnia representative, St. Patrick's (9-4 LSSAA) feature a potent offense that is ranked 2nd in the LSSAA.  Paul Whitson is a player who has been hitting 15-20 points per contest consistently throughout the season. 

The final "out of town" team, Denis Morris (St. Catharines), is a school with a strong basketball tradition that is making their 2nd consecutive Santi appearance (specific team information not provided by time of this post). 

The 3 CWOSSA reps are the host Phoenix, Lourdes Crusaders and the defending champion Bishop Mac Celtics.  The Celtics, led by 5'10" scoring sensation Michael Ganson, have been quietly building some momentum over the last couple of weeks, headlined by back-to-back wins over CWOSSA #6 St. James.  I wouldn't be surprised to see them make some noise here at the Santi.

Lourdes is a young bunch with their top 5 scorers all in grade 9.  It goes without saying that they should be one of the better programs in CWOSSA next season --- but look for them to potentially build some momentum heading into the D10 playoffs this coming weekend.

Lastly, the Phoenix have been in "rebuild mode" this season but always seem to come up big at this tournament.  PG Thomas Hunter and grade nine forward Mack Smith are their top performers, while an interesting side-note is that reserve grade nine forward Sean Begy is actually Luke Santi's cousin --- so you may see some inspired play from him this weekend.

The first-round draw is as follows:
8:30am - Resurrection vs. Jean Vanier
10:00am - Bishop Mac vs. St. Patrick's
11:30am - St. Christopher vs. Denis Morris
1:00pm - Lourdes vs. Holy Trinity

(Note - First Round Winners Play First Round Losers in the Second Round --- i.e. RCSS/JV Winner vs. BMAC/St. Pat's Loser).

Past Champions:
2011:  Guelph Bishop Macdonell
2010:  Oakville Holy Trinity

2009:  Kitchener Resurrection

2008:  Kitchener Resurrection

--RCSS Invitational Before 2008--

2007:  Sarnia St. Christopher

2006:  Guelph Bishop Macdonell

2005:  Sarnia St. Patrick

2004:  Hamilton St. Thomas More

2003:  Brantford Assumption

2002:  Ottawa St. Patrick

2001:  Guelph St. James

2000:  Sarnia St. Christopher

1999:  Kitchener Resurrection

1998:  Kitchener Resurrection

Past Tournament MVPs
2011:  Jesse Kendall, Bishop Mac
2010:  Trevon McNeil, Holy Trinity
2009:  Tyler Schneider, Resurrection

2008:  Derek Reinhart, Resurrection

2007:  Matt Cinjau, St. Christopher

2006:  Drew Morris, Bishop Macdonell

2005:  Ian Wright, Sarnia St. Patrick

2004:  Jeremy Settemi, St. Thomas More

2003:  Jesse MacDonald, Assumption

2002:  Alex Sabino-Ifill, Ottawa St. Patrick

2001:  Matthew Bellai, St. James

2000:  Jordan George, Sarnia St. Christopher

1999:  Adam Falsetto, Resurrection

1998:  Luke Kasprzak, Resurrection

All-Time Tournament Leading Scorers (PPG)
1.  Mike Rocca, Sarnia St. Christopher (2010) - 31.3
2.  Matt Cinjau, Sarnia St. Christopher (2007) - 26.0
3.  Joe Rocca, Sarnia St. Christopher (2008) - 24.8
T4.  Chris Rocca, Sarnia St. Christopher (2005) - 23.3
T4.  Solumun Gabriel, Pope John Paul II (2003) - 23.3
6.  Seve Sanfilipo, Pope John Paul II (2004) - 22.8
7.  Sharieff Peru, Our Lady of Lourdes (2009) - 22.5
8.  Justin Manning, Bishop Reding (2009) - 21.0
9.  Eric Varasso, Cardinal Newman (2008) - 20.3
10.  Chyro Blackwood, Resurrection (2003) - 20.0
11.  Adam Schneider, Resurrection (2011) - 19.9
T12.  Mitchell Wood, Bishop Macdonell (2010) - 18.5
T12.  Connor Wood, Bishop Macdonell (2009) - 18.5
14.  Ornan Crandon, Resurrection (2003) - 18.3

T15.  Emmanuel Macuei, John Paul II (2008) - 17.3
T15.  Jesse Kendall, Bishop Mac (2011) - 17.3

Bold - CWOSSA Players

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