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It's been about 6 years of running CWOSSABasketball.com, and it's time for some changes -- in a positive way. With some additional time to dedicate to the site this year, there's a few things I'm looking at accomplishing and improving during the 2015-16 season. Of course, considering the expenses associated with the following, I'll need your help along the way:

#CWOSSARoadTrip: Stretching from Delhi through to Wiarton, my goal for this season is to visit EVERY CWOSSA school that fields a basketball team (keeping in mind there's 60 or so!) for at least one game during the 2015-16 (girls or boys) season. Along with reporting on the game that I see that day, I also hope to include additional features or information about a student, the school itself, or the surrounding area (not necessarily basketball related). Some of the funds raised will be used to offset the expenses associated with this massive project.

OFSAA Coverage: Helping to defray the cost of attending the OFSAA championships (boys and girls) in Windsor this coming year, and reporting on things from a CWOSSA-specific perspective.

Photos/Videos/Highlights: Hiring an individual (and/or company) to provide game highlight videos that will be posted on the website. My goal is to start with major games (championships, etc.) and have highlights of other games if funding allows.

Website Improvements: Although the blogger platform is functional, I would like to switch to a more professional look. Any funds left over after the first several items will be put towards this purpose.

Whether you can spare $2, $5, or $25, any donation is appreciated to help continue the promotion of CWOSSA Student Athletes. Please take a look at the Indiegogo Crowdfunding link for CWOSSABasketball.com here, and thanks in advance for your support!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senior AAAA Final: St. Mary's 79, JF Ross 76

The win by the St. Mary's Eagles in last night's CWOSSA "AAAA" final completed a trio of firsts for their senior boys' basketball team.

Earlier in the day, they secured the first-ever OFSAA berth in school history with a semifinal win over a resilient Centre Wellington Falcons' team (65-61).

Their championship win later on Monday would give them the first CWOSSA senior boys' title in school history, and, lastly, it also made them the first District 8 school to ever win the "AAAA" senior title.

The title game --- arguably one of the best CWOSSA finals in history --- played out on Monday evening in front of a packed house at JF Ross CVI in Guelph, against the host Royals.

The offensive fireworks started early.  On the Eagles' opening possession, Adam Voll slammed home a rim-rattling dunk that gave the Eagles the first basket of the game.

It would be the first of many baskets --- for both teams --- in the opening half.

The play of JF Ross PG Shamlo Saeed was outstanding in the first half; his shooting and finding teammates for open looks would allow the Royals to take a 23-20 edge after the first quarter.

His drive to the basket and a difficult "and one" made things a 26-20 game on the first Ross possession of the second quarter.

The Royals would extend things to double digits a few minutes later, before a St. Mary's three-pointer (by Isaac Lance) and a two-pointer (from Delondo Hibbert) would cut the lead back down to 5 (34-29).

That was short-lived, as the Royals had a six-point possession their very next trip down the floor.

You see, Saeed was fouled (on a very close block/charge call) and went to the line for double-bonus.  Before the free-throws were attempted, Eagle coach Jason Hergott was whistled for a technical for arguing the call.  Saeed converted all four free-throws, and then found Wil De Groot after the Royals got the ball back out of bounds for a lay-in, making the score 40-29 in favour of Ross.

They would extend to their largest lead, 43-31, when Evan Karl hit a three-pointer and 2:00 to go in the half.  Another late three by Jack Cornett would allow Ross to crack the 50 point barrier in a free-wheeling 50-41 first half.

Both teams shot over 50% from the floor in the opening frame, and attempted a combined 29 free-throws.

Saeed had a terrific first-half for Ross, as he finished the opening 16 minutes with 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

However, the Royals' scoring touch would desert them for the opening 3:30 of the second half, and the Eagles took advantage, going on a 9-0 run to quickly tie the game up.

After Ross took a 55-50 advantage on a lay-in by Saeed, the Eagles would go on a 9-0 run to take their first lead since the first quarter.  It was keyed by back-to-back "and ones" by Alex Thompson and reserve grade 11 guard Chris Cloutier.

Ross was able to regain the lead late by knocking in three three-pointers in just over 1:00 of game clock.  Three-balls by Cornett, Saeed, and Cornett again (sandwiched around an SMHS basket) turned a 61-57 deficit into a 66-63 lead before St. Mary's Telloy Simon hit a three-pointer of his own to knot things back up at 66.

Ross' Drew Padovan would hit a jumper with time winding down as the Royals took a 2-point edge (68-66) to the final quarter.

The fourth quarter started slowly, with no scoring in the first 3:00 of the frame, although the big play during that time frame was the fact that Ross' Evan Karl, who played such a big role for them throughout the tournament, fouled out with 6:06 still remaining on the clock.

Trey Larue extended things to a 70-66 game, before Alex Thompson (two pointer) and Isaac Lance (two free-throws) tied things up.

We would stay knotted at 70 through to 2:30 to go, when SMHS' Adam Voll hit a turnaround jumper to give the Eagles the lead.  It was short-lived, however, as Saeed went in for a lay-up and was fouled (missing the free-throw), tying the game at 72.

We'd go back-and-forth again after the Centreville connection went to work with Henry Bankazo dropping off a nice dish to Alex Thompson for a basket and foul (2:09 on the clock).  

After a free-throw miss, Mike Friesen was fouled right back on the other end and tied things up at 74.

Eventually, after each team had a possession, Henry Bankazo would hit the go-ahead lay-in with under 1:00 to go.  It literally hung on the lip of the rim for over a second, while the Eagle faithful erupted after it eventually dropped through.

Thompson would foul out for St. Mary's back the other way, and Saeed would make 1-of-2 from the line to cut the deficit to 1 (76-75) and just over 30 seconds to play.

With Ross trying to play great defense and force a turnover, Lance would find Bankazo wide-open underneath for a lay-up that pushed the Eagle lead to 3, and 19 seconds left.

Telloy Simon forced a steal, and it looked like SMHS would seal this one --- but he turned the ball over and Chris Cloutier was actually called for an Eagle foul during the turnover.  

Wil de Groot hit 1-of-2 for Ross (78-76) and, forced to foul, the Royals sent Lance to the line for St. Mary's and only 3.3 left.  Lance made 1-of-2, to extend to a 79-76 game, and JF Ross did not get a desperation shot attempt off.

The season is not over, though, for the Royals, as they will be making their third consecutive OFSAA appearance.  They do have a few key wins on their resume, including a recent win over Pine Ridge of Pickering, the LOSSA qualifier (JC Richardson and Pickering are in that league).

For St. Mary's, Isaac Lance led the way with a 19-point effort, while Henry Bankazo (15), Alex Thompson (15) and Adam Voll (14) were all in double-figures as well.  Telloy Simon (5), Delondo Hibbert (5), Chris Cloutier (5) and Tyler Hergott (1) rounded out the Eagle scoring.

It should be noted that Voll was a force in the paint all night, and finished with at least 6 blocks, while altering several more attempts.  Meanwhile, Simon, Hibbert, Cloutier and Hergott all provided very valuable contributions off the bench --- Cloutier in particular with some great hustle plays in the second half.

Saeed just missed a triple-double, as he finished with 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists --- game highs in all three categories.  Mike Friesen (14) and Jack Cornett (12 on four three-pointers) were the other double-digit Royal scorers; Evan Karl (6), Wil de Groot (6), Trey Larue (6) and Drew Padovan (2) rounded out the JFR offense.


JFR           23-27-18-08 = 76
SMHS       20-21-25-13 = 79

St. Mary's
I. Lance         5-12 FG, 7-9 FT, 4 Reb, 5 Ast - 19 Pts.
H. Bankazo    7-10 FG, 1-5 FT, 1 Reb, 4 Ast - 15 Pts.
A. Thompson 7-13 FG, 1-2 FT, 6 Reb, 1 Ast - 15 Pts.
A. Voll           6-9 FG, 1-4 FT, 6 Reb, 0 Ast - 14 Pts.
Z. Hannah      0-2 FG, 0-0 FT, 1 Reb, 0 Ast - 0 Pts.
T. Simon        2-4 FG, 0-0 FT, 3 Reb, 0 Ast - 5 Pts.
T. Hergott      0-0 FG, 1-2 FT, 0 Reb, 1 Ast - 1 Pt.
D. Hibbert      2-2 FG, 0-0 FT, 3 Reb, 0 Ast - 5 Pts.
C. Cloutier      1-4 FG, 3-5 FT, 4 Reb, 2 Ast - 5 Pts.

Field Goals:  30-56 (.536).  Free-Throws:  14-27 (.519).  Three-Point Goals:  5-17, .294 (I. Lance 2-7, A. Voll 1-1, D. Hibbert 1-1, T. Simon 1-2, H. Bankazo 0-1, A. Thompson 0-1, Z. Hannah 0-2, C. Cloutier 0-2).

JF Ross
E. Karl          2-6 FG, 1-2 FT, 3 Reb, 1 Ast - 6 Pts.
M. Friesen   4-12 FG, 4-4 FT, 7 Reb, 0 Ast - 14 Pts.
W. de Groot 2-6 FG, 1-2 FT, 3 Reb, 0 Ast - 6 Pts.
J. Cornett     4-11 FG, 0-0 FT, 6 Reb, 1 Ast - 12 Pts.
S. Saeed     10-19 FG, 8-11 FT, 8 Reb, 9 Ast - 30 Pts.
T. Larue        3-3 FG, 0-0 FT, 2 Reb, 0 Ast - 6 Pts.
O. Moynihan 0-3 FG, 0-0 FT, 0 Reb, 0 Ast - 0 Pts.
D. Padovan   1-3 FG, 0-0 FT, 4 Reb, 1 Ast - 2 Pts.
N. Ireland      0-0 FG, 0-0 FT, 0 Reb, 0 Ast - 0 Pts.

Field Goals:   26-63 (.413).  Free-Throws:  14-21 (.667).  Three-Point Goals:  10-27, .370 (J. Cornett 4-9, S. Saeed 2-2, M. Friesen 2-6, E. Karl 1-3, W. de Groot 1-4, O. Moynihan 0-3).

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