Falcons flying high with MVP watching from bench
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
FERGUS – The defending champion Centre Wellington Falcons have proven to be masters of adapting to the situation as they’ve opened defence of their title with four consecutive wins in District 10 high school senior boys’ basketball play.
The Falcons have been playing without last year’s league MVP Cole Newton who has been sidelined with an elbow injury. He’s been cleared to return to practice, but isn’t expected to be back on the court in game play until January.
“It’s gone better than I thought and that’s a tribute to the kids who have worked hard,” Centre Wellington coach Jeff Brubacher said. “We’re hoping that he’s going to be able to come back after Christmas and that’ll change the complexion of our team for sure. It’s hard when you lose a kid who averages 22.5 (points per game) and brings a lot of different things to the team, leadership and whatnot. We’re looking forward to him being healthy and helping us as we move through the second half of the season and the playoffs.”
That means other players have had to take on different roles with the Falcons.
“It’s been good and it’s going to be even better when he gets back,” Centre Wellington’s Keenen Lochert said. “It’s just been moving the ball and getting everybody in.”
It also means that the Falcons have spread their scoring around amongst the lineup. Seven players sank baskets against Thursday on their own court as the Falcons made it four wins in as many league outings as they defeated the St. James Lions 58-49.
“We’ve been fairly balanced and that’s been a pleasant surprise because we knew that someone or more than one guy was going to have to step up without Cole,” Brubacher said. That’s good. We haven’t had someone go off for 27 or 28 or higher, but we’ve had a bunch of guys who are scoring in double figures and that helps us, too. We aren’t a high-scoring team at the moment like Ross and some of the others, but that’s OK. A win’s a win.”
The Falcons jumped ahead early, leading 19-7 at the end of the first quarter. They were up 28-19 at halftime and 49-33 after the third quarter.
“We’ve had a hard time playing a complete 32 minutes in the last little bit, whether it’s guys are just mentally tired, I’m not quite sure,” Brubacher said. “Maybe we’re just forcing it and we’re not playing with that edge. On the weekend we did. We had a pretty good tournament at Southwood and we had two really, really tough, high-energy aggressive games and it seems to be a bit of a letdown this week so we need to sort of refocus in a couple of practices and get ready for next week.”
“It was kind of sloppy and a lot of turnovers, but we’ll bounce back from it,” Lochert said.
The Falcons finished as silver medalists at the Southwood tournament in Cambridge last weekend.
Brock Newton led Centre Wellington Thursday with 20 points while Mitchell Rose-Janes had 12, Johnny Barclay and Zach Cudmore netted seven apiece and Lochert added six.
Alex Garbuio had 10 for St. James while Aidan Feeney and Matt Sanvido collected eight apiece and Josh Mencfeld had seven.
After two weeks of league play, the teams have found out what part of their play needs the most attention.
“We need to work on probably defence and boxing out for sure,” Lochert said. “We need to control the boards so we can get to the foul line more.”
“For me it’s always been about the defence – working on the D and communicating,” Brubacher said. “I know we have guys who can score, but we’re going to score out of our D and try to limit teams in their opportunities.”
Ross 68 Orangeville 56
Khaled Djabo led Ross with 25 points while Sebastien Perizzolli-Furmige and Zaid Karsiem collected 10 apiece.
Charlie Hamilton had 16 for Orangeville and Eric Woulters added 12.
Centennial 65 Bishop Macdonell 42
Scoring details were not reported.
Guelph CVI 68 Lourdes 65
Drew Desai’s 18 points led GCVI while Kyle Kush contributed 17.
David Mokonen had 16 for Lourdes while Will Vandenheuvel and Geeth Kenneth chipped in with 11 apiece.
Centre Wellington 43 St. James 37
Centre Wellington pulled away in the fourth quarter after a third-quarter surge by St. James had closed the gap to a single point after the third quarter.
Centre Wellington held quarter leads of 12-9, 26-14 and 32-31.
Aiden Davy had 20 points for Centre Wellington while Levi Humber added eight and Owen Fox had six.
Kelvin Nkubito collected 19 points for St. James while James Martin and Matt Zarzhyck had six apiece.
Ross 71 Orangeville 54
Cole Miller led Ross with a game-high 31 points while Gatlang Deng netted six.
Rowan Steele had 14 for Orangeville and Brandon Hughes collected nine.
Centennial 60 Bishop Macdonell 46
Sebastian Harman-Denhood struck for 18 points for Centennial and Jackson Wallace gathered 16.
Mackenzie Mann led Bishop Mac with 14 points while Kobi Griffin-Randall had seven.
Guelph CVI at Lourdes
No details reported.