Comeback just short in a 44-43 loss to Guelph in U10 boys' basketball final
Sunday, March 24, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Move over March Madness.
This Ontario Cup gold medal game had the feel of any game from the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
A big comeback, players diving to the floor for the ball, an intense back and forth battle, with the decision going down to the dying seconds of the contest.
The only part the St. Thomas Shock would have changed is the final outcome.
After seeing an 18-point lead vanish, the Guelph Gryphons held on to edge the Shock, 44-43, in the under-10 (Novice) boys Division eight final, at St. Joe's high school.
"It was a great game and we played really hard. A fun game to be a part of," Shock head coach Bruce Thomas said. "Both sides were going crazy. It was pretty awesome."
Guelph jumped out to a 27-9 lead in the first half, but a 16-0 run by the Shock that extended into the second half, brought intensity into the game. The Shock didn't allow a point in the quarter following half-time.
"Guelph had one player (Jayden Thompson) who is one of the best players we've seen all year. He got off to the hot start. Once we got settled in and had a strategy to guard him that really helped us," said Thomas. "We've been in a lot of close games this year. We've been in the spot before. We've been down big and come back and we were able to do it again."
Over the last two of the eight four-minute quarters , the game was either tied, or one side held a one or two point lead. Guelph pushed ahead 44-41 in the final minute. Up just one point with 15 seconds left, Guelph held off the Shock's attempt of a last second victory.
"The boys played awesome all weekend. There were a lot of good teams in our pool," said Thomas.
St. Thomas finished 3-1 in the eight team tournament, defeating Ancaster, Markham and Durham, to advance to the gold medal game.
"Our defence has stood out. It's what we stressed at the beginning and the guys bought in to it. They played hard defence for every single game," said Thomas. "You never know at this age if the shots are going to go in, but defence will keep you there every night."
Defence shined but the Shock showed their well balanced offensive attack as well.
"I was looking at the score sheets from our first few games and we had eight or nine guys on the score sheets, for every game," said Thomas, adding that gives the team a more even distribution and options for scoring.
Thompson had a game high 26 points for Guelph, 11 coming in one quarter.
Matteo Thomas led the Shock with 13 points. Jack Moore had eight points, Tyler Titchner, seven and Cam Renaud and Mason, four each.