Falcons flying high with second senior hoops title
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Centre Wellington Falcons had never won a District 10 high school senior boys’ basketball championship before last year’s title win. Now they’ve won two.
The Falcons held the championship plaque high again Saturday night at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre after they disposed of the Ross Royals 78-57.
While the Falcons are repeat champs, this year’s championship win felt different.
“We were in first place all year and we just seemed to find ways to win,” Centre Wellington coach Jeff Brubacher said. “I think this team is overall more talented than I had last year. I just didn’t know how it was all going to come back in and gel when Cole came back after missing half the season.”
Cole Newton, last season’s league MVP, missed the first half of the regular season after suffering an elbow injury during Center Wellington’s first practice of the season.
A huge second half did the trick for the Falcons Saturday as they pulled away for the victory. Centre Wellington outscored the Royals 41-25 in the second half.
“We stuck with the plan and we had kids who rose to the occasion,” Brubacher said. “Our D was really good tonight. Ross is a good team and they have some tough matchups for us and I thought we really focused well on Khaled (Djabo) and did a pretty good job on the big guy (Sebastian Perizzolo-Furminger). We knew when we played them twice before they are very relentless on the boards and we focused last week in practice on blocking out and taking care of that responsibility before we just go get the basketball. That paid off tonight for sure.”
“We just wanted to move the ball around and stay calm,” Centre Wellington’s Johnny Barclay said. “I have to give thanks to our coach because he was telling us to keep calm and composed. He wanted us to move the ball and run some plays and slow the game down. Once we had chances to run out, we could go and run.”
The Falcons never trailed in the game although Ross did close the gap to a point or two a couple of times in the second quarter, but Centre Wellington always found a way to rebuild its lead.
“We didn’t shoot very well tonight,” Brubacher said. “That happens when you’re playing in this gym and you’re not used to that. We made some timely shots, especially when they narrowed it to three or four and then all of a sudden we pulled away.”
“It’s a big difference because we’re used to playing with walls and everything, not just a big crowd,” Barclay said. “It was a little different, but once we got confident we could should with the big crowd we could win the game.”
Brock Newton led the Falcons with 21 points while Cole Newton netted 15 and Zach Cudmore had 13.
Zaid Karsiem led Ross with 23 points while Djabo had 19 and Perizzolo-Furminger collected seven.
Team MVPs for the game, as selected by their opponents, were Barclay of the Falcons and Djabo of the Royals.
The Falcons advance to the CWOSSA AAA tournament Friday and Saturday at Cambridge.
“We know who’s in our pool.” Brubacher said. “We’ll have Brantford champion North Park. They’re very good. And we’ll have (the winner of a) play-in game between Grand River and Huron Heights, both of which we’ve beaten this year. They’re good teams, but I like our chances to win or two for sure and maybe advance to the next day. You just never know. CWOSSA is a whole different thing. We’ll have a couple good days of practice and get ready to go.”
“It’ll be a little tougher competition,” Barclay said. “It’s all the champions coming to one tournament. It’ll be tough, but hopefully we can win it.”