Senior Royals, junior Spartans capture D10 hoops titles
GUELPH – Wednesday’s District 10 high school basketball games might not have been played at the University of Guelph as originally planned, but that certainly didn’t stop the participants from delivering exciting finals.
And both the morning junior final at Guelph CVI and the late afternoon senior final at St. James CHS played in front of packed gymnasiums put on shows that kept the crowds loud. They were boisterous and, for the most part, respectful and that only served to ramp up the on-court efforts.
After two years with no championship matches due to COVID, the victorious teams ended title-winning droughts.
Ross Royals won the senior final 65-58 over the Lourdes Crusaders for their first D10 title since 2011. Lourdes last won in 2012.
Centennial Spartans won their first junior title since 2006 with a 75-70 victory over the Orangeville Bears who hadn’t won the crown since 1991.
Senior Boys’ Basketball
The championship win completed an undefeated trip through the D10 portion of the season for the Royals, but it certainly wasn’t an easy stroll through the final.
And Ross coach Charlie Douglas didn’t say anything about an undefeated season until the D10 final was complete.
“It’s been my superstition the whole year,” he said. “Undefeated, and that’s what these guys came back for — Robert Vosper, Landon Hart, Eric Dewar. They came back for one thing. A D10 championship, but they wanted an undefeated. They’ve never had that. They had two in junior, Grade 9 and Grade 10, but this is the one chance they had to get an undefeated and that was the goal from the start. To win the first one, undefeated, and to win D10 and Lourdes gave us 110 per cent today.”
“There’s been a couple of close games this year, a lot of games under 10-point wins,” Hart, player of the game for Ross, said. “My first two seasons and before COVID we lost one game in both of those so finally getting undefeated feels really good and I hope the boys can do it next year. I won’t be here, but hopefully they can do it again next year.”
The Crusaders never let the Royals get out of reach and had grabbed the lead going into the third quarter. Ross led 26-19 at the end of the first quarter and 40-33 at halftime before Lourdes held them to five points in the third quarter.
The Crusaders led 46-45 at the beginning of the final quarter before the Royals rediscovered their scoring touch, especially from the free-throw line as they collected 10 points on foul shots in the final quarter as they hit all but two free throws they were awarded. The Crusaders hit seven of the eight free throws they took in the fourth quarter.
Vosper led the Royals with 15 points while Jonathan Wang had 13, Hart 10 and Mason Bair nine.
Domenic Favaro, player of the game for Lourdes, collected 19 points for the Crusaders while Simon Porcellato had 15 and Joseph Basciano collected 14.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” Douglas said. “I was sad at first the boys didn’t get the chance to experience the evening event, but the fans here made it an event. Thank you to all the fans on both sides for being great fans and doing it the right way.”
“It was full and the noise was off the walls,” Hart said. “It was a lot louder here than it would’ve been at the university.”
Both the Royals and Crusaders advance to CWOSSA tournaments Friday and Saturday. Ross is to be in the AAA tournament at Cameron Heights CI in Kitchener while Lourdes is to be in the AA tournament at Centre Dufferin DHS at Shelburne.
“I hope we can go out there and win,” Hart said. “That’s the goal all the time. I never want to go in with a losing mindset. I think we have a chance to win and go to OFSAA and that’s what I want to do.
“They’re all good teams there. If you get there, you’re good. It’s going to be tough, but I think we’ve got it.”
For Ross, it’ll be the next goal they set for this season.
“No. 1, that was undefeated,” Douglas said. “No. 2, win D10. No. 3 CWOSSA and get the team to OFSAA where they belong.”
Junior Boys’ Basketball
The Spartans turned in the comeback of the ages to get the victory.
Orangeville grabbed a 20-17 lead by the end of the first quarter before seemingly everything went right for them and wrong for Centennial in the second quarter. The Bears led 42-20 late in the quarter before the Spartans pulled the gap back to 19 points (45-27) by halftime.
Centennial went on its own run in the third quarter, getting the gap down to 10 points (55-45) by the end of the quarter. The Spartans still trailed by nine points (62-53) with three minutes to go in regulation time, but managed to pull even at 64 apiece to force a four-minute overtime quarter and Centennial outscored Orangeville 9-6 in extra time for the win.
“That was a crazy comeback,” Centennial coach John Hood said. “Being down 22 in the first half, it would’ve been easy to have doubts. It would have been easy for that to have been the game, but the one thing these guys have is a lot of is heart and a lot of confidence and they didn’t panic. They didn’t panic and we just talked. Hey, you’ve got to get stops. You get stops and we’re going to be able to score. We gave up 45 in the first half and they ended up with 70 so we turned up the defence and changed the game.”
However, that doesn’t mean the Spartans weren’t concerned.
“There were definitely levels of concern,” Hood said. “When we played them in January they beat us by 25 using a very similar style. We could deal with that style. We just had to be confident and stay with it and understand that there are going to be runs. We both pressed most of the game. There’s going to be ups and downs and we’re just going to have to ride our ups as long as possible and make the lows as short as possible.”
Karan Hira led the Spartans with 20 points while Carlos Coronado had 18 and Sam Kim and Aiden Vandenheuval each had 10.
Coronado was player of the game for Centennial as all but two of his points came after halftime.
Orangeville’s player of the game Jacob Lewis had 16 points while Jisiah Guthrie had 15 and Brayden Bettonvil and Cameron Woods each netted 11.
Centennial advances to the CWOSSA AAA tournament at Waterloo CI Friday and Kitchener’s Cameron Heights CI Saturday.
Bishop Macdonell Celtics are to represent D10 at the CWOSSA AA tournament at Westside SS in Orangeville Friday and Centre Dufferin DHS in Shelburne Saturday.
- Guelph Sports Journal