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Senior Boys Basketball
Outstanding effort earns St. Matt's Tigers city championship
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Members of the St. Matthew Tigers pose for a team picture after winning the NCSSAA senior boys Tier 1 basketball championship on Tuesday. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The St. Matthew Tigers senior boys basketball team are the undisputed National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association Tier 1 city champions after downing the Sir Robert Borden Bengals 70-54 at the Raven's Nest Tuesday night.

Less than a week after they
squeaked past the Glebe Gryphons in the semi-finals, the Tigers played a near flawless game against the Bengals who were undefeated during the regular season, although they did lose to
St. Matt's by nearly 20 points in a pre-season game.

Following their less than stellar shooting performance against the Gryphons, the Tigers worked on their shot-making skills religiously in practice and it paid off in spades. Led by Tyson Hinz and Garnet Blais who 6-for-9 combined in the first half, the Tigers shot 66 per cent from the field in the opening 16 minutes and 91 per cent from the free throw line.

But equally impressive as their shooting in the first half was their play on defense. The Bengals had very few open looks in the first half and even fewer second chances. Of the 11 rebounds that came off missed Bengal shots in the first half, Sir Robert Borden hauled down just two of them while the Tigers had nine defensive rebounds.

Hinz scored the Tigers first 11 points including a coast to coast lay up to give St. Matt's an early five point lead. He also hauled in two rebounds and blocked a shot. Point guard Scott Ring also did a stellar job running the Tigers' offense and establishing the pace of the game by being patient with the ball.

As dominant as Hinz was in the first quarter, Blais was equally impressive in the second stanza going 3-for-4 from the field, including a three pointer, and hauling down three boards.

By the end of the first half, the Tigers had built up a comfortable 14-point lead which they managed to maintain through the third quarter as Hinz and Blais continued to rack up the points along with Jeremy Leonard-Smith who added a pair of baskets including a trey.

Rather than ease up on the throttle, the Tigers extended their lead to 23 points in the fourth quarter before cruising home to a 70-54 win.

All five senior starters factored into the scoring along with first year senior Gavin Resch who contributed five points coming off the bench.

Blais led all scorers with 25 points on 10 of 12 shooting and four free throws. Hinz was six for nine from the field and a perfect four for four from the free throw line for 17 points. Scott Ring and Leonard-Smith added nine points each and Kyle Ring had five points.

As a team, the Tigers shot 61 per cent from the field and were an impressive 11-for-14 from the free throw line. By comparison, the Bengals shot just 43 per cent from the field and were 11-for-18 from the foul line.

The win was especially sweet for the graduating seniors who were playing in their first city championship after knocking on the door for the past four years at both the senior and junior level. Blais admitted to having some pre-game jitters, but they quickly calmed down once the game started.

"Definitely not," Blais answered when asked if he ever dreamed about having the type of game he ended up having. "I was very nervous, especially with it being my first city championship in five years."

The game was well attended by fans from both schools including two competing sections of students who were decked out in their respective school colours. The boisterous crowd helped pump up the Tiger players.

"When we came out for the warm-up I couldn't believe it, they were so loud. I never played in a game with that many fans. It was pretty exciting," said Hinz who fed off the energy in the gym.

The Tigers will only have a couple of days to savour their victory before they start preparing for the OFSAA provincial championships which get underway March 9 in Ottawa.

Winning the city championship should give St. Matt's a huge boost heading into OFSSA, according to Tigers head coach Jason Wren.

"Our goal back in October was to just make it to this game, but once we were here we wanted to take care of business. There's no way we wanted to go into OFSAA on a losing note," said Wren.

With the city championship tucked into their belts the Tigers are now 40-1 in league and tournament action so far this season. Their only loss came in the second game of the All-Catholic High School Provincial Championships earlier this month.

St. Mathew
Tigers
FG
3-PT
FT
REB
A
S
BLK

PTS

Garnet Blais
10-12
1-2
4-7
5
2
1
1
25
Tyson Hinz
6-9
1-2
4-4
5
2
2
1
13
Scott Ring
4-10
1-2
0-0
1
2
0
0
9
Jeremy
Leonard-Smith
4-9
1-4
0-0
5
1
1
0
9
Kyle Ring
2-2
1-1
0-0
1
0
0
0
5
Gavin Resch
1-2
0-0
3-3
1
2
0
0
5
Team totals
27-44
5-11
11-14
18
9
4
2
70

(Posted 3:30 a.m., Feb. 25)

 

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