Ross Royals use their depth for D10 junior title win
GUELPH – The Ross Royals put their depth to good use as they held off the Centennial Spartans for an 83-74 victory in the District 10 high school junior boys’ basketball final Saturday night at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre.
“I wanted to play a four-quarter game,” Ross coach Charlie Douglas said. “We have a lot of depth and a lot of players. Centennial has got some great players and some unbelievable shooters and we had to make them play a four-quarter game and basically use the advantage of our depth.”
Junior teams always carry more players than their senior counterparts and it’s not uncommon to see teams have to search out a couple more chairs in some high school gyms as there’s just not enough room on the bench for everyone.
In the championship match, both teams had rosters of 14 players.
“We’ve been working all year on every single player getting better and we saw that today,” Douglas said. “I was able to get 10, 11 guys in there and that was the difference. They got in there, they were confident, they played well. They played the four quarters. No game’s perfect, but they played very, very well and they used each other and they were a team.”
The Royals also used a quick start that saw them build a 25-15 lead by the end of the first quarter. Their lead was at 45-39 at halftime and 61-54 after the third quarter.
“It was a great start. I was happy,” Douglas said. “If you would have told me I had a lead at the half against such a good shooting team, I’d be happy. I’d take a one-point lead and we had a six-point lead. We had a lead after the third quarter and they still kept shooting lights out. I was proud of the boys for playing defence. The key was going to be rebounding. We had to board and when they did lose their legs a little bit, we were able to be there and get some of those rebounds.”
Gatlang Deng led Ross with a 27-point outing while Dominic Vanos had 18, Liam Brown 16, Daniel Wang 10, Carter Wesley 7, Sam Barry 3 and Landon Hart 2.
Johnny Beaton connected for 25 points for Centennial. He was followed by Jaylen Phillip with 16, Jackson Davidson 14, Shaan Uppal 11 and Sebastian Harman-Denhoed 8.
Each team’s top scorer was judged to be their MVP of the game.
For the Royals, it was their first D10 junior boys’ title win since 2012 and their 24th overall.
Ross and Centennial completed the regular season with identical 12-1 records.
The Royals advance to the CWOSSA AAA championship tournament. Pool play will go Friday at Kitchener Resurrection while the semifinals and final are slated for Saturday at Kitchener St. Mary’s.
“We have played Cameron Heights and they’re one of the top teams. We had a three-point game with them,” Douglas said. “We’ve been playing outside of the area. We went to Brampton and London and won a tournament there. We know we can play with the top teams there so we should be able to be OK and do a good job with our depth and that’s what CWOSSA comes down to. You can’t win CWOSSA with one or two or three players. You need eight, nine, 10, 11 and I think we have that.”
- Guelph Sports Journal