Centennial Spartans get their hands on D10 senior crown
GUELPH – The Centennial Spartans left their fingerprints all over the District 10 high school senior boys’ basketball league’s championship plaque after prying it from the grasp of two-time defending champion Centre Wellington Falcons Saturday night at the Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre.
“Everything kind of fell into place today,” Centennial’s Jake Warywoda said.
Things certainly fell into place in the middle quarters when the Spartans outscored the Falcons 41-23 in the second and third quarters combined.
The teams had been tied 17-17 at the end of the first quarter before Centennial shot ahead 34-29 by halftime and stretched that lead to 58-40 in the third quarter when Centre Wellington sank one shot from the floor and eight free throws.
The championship combatants are very similar although there isn’t a single player on the Centennial roster that can be keyed on to cause the Spartans to get off their game. In fact it seems like a different player steps up each game. Cameron Powell had a superb outing at the GGAC when the Spartans won the U of G’s Tom Heslip high school tournament there in December and it was Hadi El-Miari’s turn in Friday’s semifinal win over the Lourdes Crusaders.
Saturday night, Warywoda stepped to the forefront.
“Jake was awesome,” Centennial coach Rob Conroy said. “He rolled his ankle in January and we got him back. He’s some back and he’s so aggressive and so athletic. He’s done a good job for us.
“He’s selfless. He’s the consummate team player and he’s so positive. It’s a nice way for him to go out. He’s a fifth-year kid and he goes out as a District 10 champion.”
“We really started to settle down,” Warywoda said. “We started to recognize that when we play as a whole, we play as a team and we move the ball really well, we can beat any team.”
And how’s the ankle?
“It’s still pretty sore,” he said. “I’ve got a brace on it. I actually had it shaved for a little bit because I had a lot of tape on it, but now it’s doing all right.”
Warywoda, Centennial’s MVP of the game, hit for a game-high 19 points while Powell had 13, Jackson Wallace and Davin Ramdath 12 apiece, Kai Clarke 9 and El-Miari 5.
Zach Cudmore collected 12 for Centre Wellington while Johnny Barclay, Brock Newton and Keenen Lochert each netted 11. Korsen Lochert and Aiden Davy had two apiece.
Newton was Centre Wellington’s MVP of the game.
For the Spartans, they felt the game they got to play on the GGAC’s full court in winning the U of G’s Heslip tournament was a big help for them.
“We had a little bit of experience and a little bit of an advantage playing on the big court and I think that really paid off,” Warywoda said. “I find it pretty different. It’s wider. It’s longer. You get more tired because we’re trying to press for most of the time and you’re getting really, really tired. It makes it a lot harder with the angles, too, but overall I kind of enjoy it.”
While the Falcons also played in the Heslip tournament, only the final was played on the full court. The gym was divided into three courts for play earlier in that tournament.
The D10 senior championship win was the first for Centennial since 2009 and their 15th overall.
Centennial moves on as D10’s representative in the CWOSSA AAA championship tournament at Kitchener St. Mary’s Friday and Saturday.
“I don’t even know what pool we’re in anymore,” Conroy said. “They’ve changed the whole format, but at this point everything’s gravy. We wanted District 10 and we got it and we’ll see what happens next week.”
The Spartans will be in a pool with Waterloo County’s top team in the category and the top AAA team from the Grey-Bruce area.
“I think we’ll be competitive,” Warywoda said. “We’ve faced some teams that I know we’ll be seeing at CWOSSA at the SJAM (Waterloo’s Sir John A. Macdonald) tournament and that actually went really well for us. We played really well against them and we shot really well against them. I feel like we can recognize all the things that they do and we can match up with them.”
- Guelph Sports Journal