The Louis-Riel Rebelles senior boys basketball team are city champs after beating the Nepean Knights 67-46 at La Cité Collegiale on Monday.
|The Louis-Riel Rebelles pose with the championship trophy after beating the Nepean Knights 67-46 to win the NCSSAA senior boy’s AAA title on Monday. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
After falling behind early in the AAA title game, the Knights battled back to take a 14-13 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Rebelles responded with a 15-4 run to start the second stanza and opened up a 10-point lead which they extended to 13 points by the halftime break. The offensive outburst included a pair of three-point buckets by Sacha Gauthier, who ended the first half with eight points, and a trés from Zacharia Hussein.
The Rebelles continued their onslaught at the start of the second half, going on another 15-4 run to extend their advantage to 43-21 midway through the third quarter. By the end of the stanza they were up by 28 points.
The Knights were able to narrow the deficit to 16 points in the fourth quarter before the Rebelles stopped the bleeding and coasted to a 21-point win.
The win was sweet redemption for the Rebelles, who suffered a hearbreaking loss in last year's championship game.
Trailing by a point with eight seconds left in overtime, Gauthier had the ball dribble off his foot and into the hands of a defender as time expired.
Presented with a chance at redemption on Monday, Gauthier scored 10 points, second only to teammate Brandon Ali who scored an even dozen.
The Rebelles will now take their undefeated record to the OFSAA provincial championships in Burlington next week.
Rebelles' coach Jean-Guy Morin says his team has a real shot at a medal.
"I've been coaching here for 12 years and this is the deepest team I've ever had and the starting five is very talented, but OFSAA is a whole different level. A lot of those teams have players with Division 1 scholarships in their pocket," said Morin. "But we should be competitive."
Besides having a deep bench with loads of talent, the Rebelles also have speed to burn. More importantly, they know how to play as a unit, something past Rebelles teams have lacked.