Crusaders strike to claim CWOSSA AA senior hoops title
GUELPH – The Lourdes Crusaders are CWOSSA high school boys’ basketball AA champions for the third time.
The Crusaders claimed the regional title Tuesday with a 47-41 victory over the District 4 champion Centre Dufferin Royals of Shelburne in the final at St. James.
“We went into the tournament knowing that Centre Dufferin was a good team, scrappy team, gritty as well,” Kevin Martinez of the Crusaders said. “They have some size on us too, really fast, but we came out with the win.”
Lourdes led at the end of each quarter as the Crusaders were up 11-9 at the end of the first quarter, 24-18 at halftime and 33-25 after the third quarter.
After operating in the paint on offence most of the opening half, the Crusaders moved to the perimeter for their second-half shots.
“It’s really taking what they gave us,” Martinez said. “They were playing a hard man in the first half, so we were taking layups and going to the rim pretty well. In the second half when they started playing zone, the three was just open so that’s what we took.”
“Our goal was to stop dribble penetration. They have a couple of good players who can attack the rim so we showed a couple of different looks,” Lourdes coach Mike Finoro said. “For us, it was a defensive focus first and we did a decent job of tightening up in the second half. They did it together defensively and offensively they hit shots when we needed to. It was a great team win today.”
Martinez led Lourdes with 18 points, splitting his points evenly between three-pointers and foul shots. Tyler Blais had 10 points while Jacob Porcellato had nine and Sebastian Porcellato added eight.
Mark Taylor connected for 13 points for Centre Dufferin while Jaden Hamilton-El had 10 and Nathan Isaac netted eight.
The Crusaders gained their berth in the final with a 52-40 victory over the St. David Celtics of Waterloo.
Lourdes rebounded from a 12-8 deficit at the end of the first quarter for the win. They were ahead 23-22 at halftime and 42-31 at the end of the third quarter.
Martinez had 21 points and Sebastian Porcellato added 19.
Ryan Weias had 15 points for St. David while Landon Atkinson had 14.
Centre Dufferin hit early to run to a 67-54 victory over the St. Mary’s Mustangs of Owen Sound in the other semifinal.
The Royals held a 20-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 33-21 advantage at halftime and Centre Dufferin took a 47-38 lead into the final quarter.
Issac and Abel Sales each hit for 14 points for Lourdes while Hamilton-El had 10.
Lee Stephens connected for 13 points for St. Mary’s while Riley Gordon had 12 and Cedric McMay chipped in with eight.
For the Crusaders, it was their first CWOSSA AA title since they won in 2012 when coach Finoro was a playing member of the team.
“Honestly, I think for my mind and my heart, it’s easier as a player,” Finoro said. “As a coach it’s their win. We work hard all year and they work hard all year to prepare themselves so today it was all them. They went out, they performed, they executed and they played well together for 32 minutes.”
The Crusaders also won in 2005, the first of 13 championship wins by a Guelph squad in 16 years.
Lourdes advances to next week’s OFSAA provincial AA championship tournament at Windsor.
“There’ll be more competitive games,” Finoro said. “These guys, they’re at a point in the season where we like to fight and we like to compete. We wanted the Centre Dufferin match-up because it was going to be a challenge and it was going to be a dogfight, but they were ready to go. I’m not sure where we’re going end up seeding wise, but wherever we are they are going to be prepared to fight because that’s just where they are as individuals and as a team right now.”
“We want to win. That’s all we want to do,” Martinez said. “We want to win.”
The Centre Dufferin Royals also came out on the short end of the junior final as they dropped a 65-58 decision to the Monsignor Doyle Mustangs of Cambridge in the championship match.
Doyle jumped ahead early, but Centre Dufferin fought back in front of a boisterous crowd. The Mustangs led 23-9 at the end of the first quarter and 32-29 at halftime before the Royals squeezed ahead 44-43 by the end of the third quarter.
Dominic Lamontagne collected 15 points to lead Doyle while Josh Swift had 13, Elijah Edwards 12, Jayden Bell 10 and Justin Pimentel nine.
Amari Jones and Aaron Cunningham accounted for the majority of the points for Centre Dufferin as Jones had 27 and Cunningham contributed 23.
Doyle dumped Simcoe Composite Sabres 76-33 in the semifinals. The Mustangs held quarter leads of 17-16, 43-18 and 62-22.
Alex Auld had seven points for Simcoe and Talon Nuntz-Flowerday had six.
Centre Dufferin got a quick start in their 52-39 semifinal victory over the Lourdes Crusaders.
The Royals led 14-5 at the end of the first quarter, 30-10 at halftime and 40-26 after the third quarter.
Cunningham struck for 21 points for the Royals while D’Andre Wayne had nine.
Aidan Doucette hit for nine points for Lourdes and Evan Krueger netted eight.
- Guelph Sports Journal