The Gloucester-Cumberland Wolverines U12 boys team wrapped up their season on Sunday with a 48-39 win over the Ottawa Elite in the Eastern Ontario Basketball Association (EOBA) championship final.
It was the second time the Wolverines had beaten their National Capital rivals this season. The first time was on April 6, which give them sole possession of first place.
With Sunday’s win, the Wolverines finished their EOBA campaign with a perfect 10-0 record.
The championship is their second city title in the past three year. They previously won the U10 championship in 2020. Last year’s season had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wolverines also finished second in the third division of the Ontario Cup in 2020. This year they were promoted to the first division which competes for the provincial championship.
Of the eight teams in the competition, they were ranked eighth. Despite their pre-tournament status, they managed to beat the number four seed – Top Seed East from Toronto – in their opening game. James Lavictoire won the game for the Wolverines on a three-point shot in the dying moments of the game. The final score was 55-54.
In their second game, the Wolverines went up against Top Tier West, also from Toronto, who are the number one ranked team in the province.
Refusing to be intimidated by their higher-ranked opponents, the Wolverines held the Toronto team to 17-17 tie through much of the first half before Top Tier went on a 9-1 run to take a 26-18 halftime lead. Despite their best efforts, the Wolverines were unable to close the gap in the second half, and eventually lost 60-46.
With a 1-1 record, the Wolverines still had a shot at making the playoffs with a win over the number five seed Brampton Warriors. After digging themselves into a deep hole in the first half, the Warriors found themselves trailing by eight points in the third quarter.
Refusing to give up, the pesky warriors battled all the way back to eventually tie the game on another three-point buzzer- beater by Lavictoire and send the contest to overtime. Unfortunately, they had expended all their energy and the Warriors pulled out a 59-49 win.
Still, all in all, the Wolverines did them-selves proud by beating a higher seeded team and holding their own against the number one team in the province for the better part of two quarters.
The cherry on top of their successful season was the EOBA championship. Head coach Richard Provencher says the key to the team’s success this year has been their depth.
Minor basketball teams play with two squads which each get equal time on the court. Most teams have one strong squad and one weaker squad. The Wolverines have two equally strong squads.
“I can put either set of players in the floor and feel comfortable they can do the job,” says Provencher.
Besides Lavictoire’s obvious shooting prowess, the Wolverines have an excellent point guard in Pierce Provencher who can move the ball up the floor and distribute it to his teammates, and three power forwards in Yannis Komy, Gabriel Kabongo and Josh Itongwa. The rest of the team is rounded out by Jaymes Moodie, Reuben Mesfin, Brandon Bell, Joseph Mesfin, Onyx Sineus and Leo Mvuezolo...