WATERLOO REGION (February 17, 2017) – Two years ago a young core of grade elevens from St. Benedict’s would lose their last District 8 game to a dominant St. Mary’s team. That game may have been the handing over of the reigns, at least for two years.
Since that night, the Saints have bulled through District 8 and a number of other teams across the province in hopes of capturing an OFSAA medal, and in Thursday night’s D8 final, it was no different.
It only took a couple minutes for the St. Benedict’s team to shake off initial jitters in front of a packed house as the 4-3 deficit early in the first quarter would be answered by a 19-0 run. This run included multiple 3-pointers from sharp shooter Justin Malnerich, and two time league MVP Zubair Seyed.
The Saints were able to maintain momentum in the second quarter with six different players scoring as they entered the half with a 39-16 lead.
St. David’s was able to get significant contributions from Brent Lasovich and Mason Cumming in the third quarter as they combined for all of the Celtics scoring in the frame with seven and five points respectively.
Cummng was the only consistent scorer on the night from St. David’s as he accounted for just under half of the Celtics total points with 18 including five three pointers. Lasovich added 15 with three 3-pointers.
The night however belonged to St. Benedict’s as they would secure their second straight senior title with a 59-42 win.
Seyed lead all scoring with 19 while Malnerich finished with 13. Evan Rodenburg was a game changer in the paint cleaning up the boards and contributing nine points on offence.
The Saints will continue their season at the CWOSSA AAA Championships on February 24th and 25th in Waterloo while the Celtics will play a CWOSSA qualifier next week in hope to play for the AA Championship in Cambridge. Rockway Mennonite will represent D8 at the CWOSSA A Championship.
The Saints were not the only team on the night to complete back-to-back undefeated championship seasons in D8. A very athletic and talented junior team from St. Mary’s High School was also looking to do the same.
The Eagles who have been fairly dominant in the junior season with a very deep talent pool took on a Saint’s team who was able to upset Resurrection in double overtime in their semi-final matchup.
St. Benedict’s momentum however did not continue into the final as St. Mary’s was able to penetrate through the defence off the dribble and with passing. With the ball moving for the Eagles, they were able to open with a 18-11 score after the first quarter with seven point coming from grade 10 guard Marcus Umana.
Paulo Malacad would take over the scoring in the second quarter as he tallied eight points, including two from long range as they extended the lead to 10 at the break.
Saints guard and big man combo of Rafael Llorin and Jaxson Davis would light up scoring in the fourth quarter combining for 15 of the team’s 19 points in the frame, but the deficit was too much to overcome as the Eagles cruised to a 67-50 win.
Malacad was the leading scorer for the Eagles scoring 19 points, while Umana dropped 18. St. Mary’s Ben Lassaline added 12 points.
Saints were lead in scoring with 13 from Trent Johnson, while Llorin and Davis scored 12 and eight respectively.
St. Mary’s will look to capture the CWOSSA AAA crown in Waterloo next week. St. David’s will represent D8 in the AA Championship, should they win their qualification game. Rockaway will attend the A Championship.
It was an exciting finish in the midget boys basketball championship as St. Mary’s snuck out a 40-39 win over St. Benedict’s. Nasir Morgan lead the Eagles in scoring with 12 while Adam Hasan lead the Saints with 10.