St. Thomas heads into a basketball final between undefeated teams
Saturday, April 21, 2018
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Thanks to an undefeated round robin record, the St. Thomas Shock will be playing for a gold medal.
The Shock went 3-0 in their pool, earning a spot in the final, for the Ontario Cup provincial basketball under-14 bantam boys division 14 championship, at St. Joseph's high school.
St. Thomas meets the Guelph Gryphons, also 3-0, in the gold medal game, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, at St. Joe's.
"We're the strongest passing team in terms of looks, seeing open guys and we're always trying to be patient with the ball," Shock coach Troy Rick said. "We share the ball. You'll see on the score sheet eight or nine kids with baskets."
St. Thomas defeated the Penetanguishene-Midland Magic, 49-45, in their final pool game and as coach Rick said, nine players had at least one basket. Branden Bogart led the Shock, with 16 points, while Dayne Walcarius had eight points and Clarke Shackleton, six.
The Shock survived rallies by the Magic, coming late in each half. Leading 23-16 in the second quarter, the Magic had the game tied by half-time. Then the Shock had a 10 point advantage, at 48-38, in the fourth quarter, but the Magic made it a three point game with 19.6 seconds remaining.
"One of our mottos this year is always protect the ball, respect the ball, as usually turnovers tend to kill you. Between turnovers and our missed easy shots, that takes a 10 point lead down quick," said Rick. "At the end of the game, they're young and they get caught up in the hectic of pressing. We teach them to play strong and be smart, so our boys pulled it out at the end."
St. Thomas defeated the KW Vipers, 51-46 and the Gladiators, from Whitby, 58-36, earlier in the tournament.
In the final between the undefeated teams, Rick says the Shock has to keep doing what has made them successful.
"I want to see the boys doing everything we've been doing well all year. Be strong with the ball, don't turn it over and make sure we're hunting in the paint, hitting the open guy."