St. Thomas edges Guelph for the Ontario Basketball Association Division 15 title
Sunday, April 22, 2018
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - By playing some of their best basketball of the season, the St. Thomas Shock major bantam boys are now provincial champions.
The Shock edged the Guelph Gryphons, 39-37, in the Ontario Basketball Association Cup under-14 Division 15 gold medal final, at St. Joe's high school.
"They're an amazing bunch of kids. Our ball movement and our unselfishness was secondary to nobody," Shock coach Troy Rick said. "We controlled the ball and our compete level as very high."
Tied at 24 at half-time and for the first three and half minutes into the third quarter, the Shock surged ahead 36-29 by mid fourth quarter. Guelph didn't go away, making it a one point game, on a three-pointer, with a minute remaining.
Strong defence prevented the Gryphons from sinking a go-ahead basket over the final 60 seconds. Branden Bogart hit a last second free throw to complete the scoring.
Bogart hit a more crucial shot late in the first half. Guelph led 12-10 after one quarter and 24-21 with a minute left in the second quarter. But Bogart sent the game into recess tied at 24, after draining a three-point shot.
Over three round robin games, Guelph was averaging 55 points per game.
"We run three defences, a very aggressive man, a trapping zone and a match-up. My model is kids this age can't adapt to defensive changes every four minutes, so we threw everything we had at them," said Rick. "It's very hard to get creative on offence when every four minutes down the floor you're facing something different."
Clarke Shackleton led the Shock with 12 points, while Bogart had seven and Bryer Stock and Dayne Warcarius, six points each.
During pool play, St. Thomas was 3-0.
A gold medal finishes a season that started winless over nine games.
"The boys bought in to the system. They were, 'hey, this seems to work, so let's start doing it," said Rick. "Once they bought in to it, you could see them develop and become stronger."
It is Rick's fourth OBA title as coach, the third with the major boys, including a back to back effort five years ago and one gold medal with midget girls.
Three medals for Shock basketball
The major bantam boys' gold is the third provincial medal over three consecutive weeks for the St. Thomas Shock.
Two weeks ago, in London, the Novice boys won gold.
Last weekend in Brampton, the major bantam girls brought home a bronze medal from the Division eight tournament, defeating the Barrie Royals. The Shock ladies finished the round robin tied with two other teams with 2-1 records. A tie-breaker determined where teams played their next game. The Sudbury Jams, who St. Thomas beat, moved on to the gold game, losing to the South Windsor Wildcats.