March 6, 大中华彩票app下载安装 · 0 Comments
The St. Andrew’s College Saints U16A Junior basketball team brought 大中华彩票app下载安装 silver in this year’s Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario championship game this past week.
Their playoff push began last Wednesday on 大中华彩票app下载安装 court in the semifinals against Upper Canada College.
Both teams finished the season with seven wins and three losses. The Saints finished in second place, earning a first-round bye.
In front of the 大中华彩票app下载安装 crowd, the Saints left the pre-game huddle, whipping their hands together towards the floor, yelling “defence.” That’s the mentality and every twist and turn in this game all stemmed from the notion that defending comes first.
One of the most prolific scorers on the roster, Kyle Murphy, stole the ball away early in the first quarter and put up an easy two points. The Saints defended well with a full court press, forcing errors from Upper Canada College before their opponents reached half court.
But, UCC didn’t blunder often. As a matter of fact, their defence crafted some nifty turnovers of their own that resulted in transition points. Number 31, Preston, on UCC, finished the first quarter with seven points. Murphy for the Saints, recorded 10.
It was 16-14 for UCC after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, it was still much of the same tempo and tenacity on both ends. All the boys were defending the hoop as if their time on the court depended on it.
The transition scoring continued up until the end of the half, tied at 30-30.
“I realized right off the bat they did a good job with their zone adjustment, so I had to come up with something different that we used in the past against them, that we didn’t really practice much, but I knew was going to be effective,” explained head coach Marcello Lio.
Lio went into a 41 set with cutters to get the zone moving.
A diver was set up at the top of the key. The boys knew what he was talking about and executed it right away, only conceding eight points in the third quarter, versus scoring 18.
Anthony Lio, son of the head coach, contributed six points of his own. Centre Nihaal Rana was a beast in the low post.
At 48-38, heading into the fourth quarter, the Saints remained dialled in. UCC did everything they could to remain in the game, but the zone defence from the Saints forced turnovers that eventually deteriorated their confidence. The Saints even went back to man defence in the final minutes.
The Saints advanced to the finals with a 75-64 victory.
“The energy built on each other, everyone was getting hyped and we just closed it out,” said Murphy, after finishing the semifinals with a 23-point night.
Anthony Lio, standing right beside Murphy in the post-game interview, emphasized his father’s biggest quote.
“One of his major quotes is ‘defence first and if shots don’t fall, defence will always come,’” explained Lio.
Lio went on to add the team needed to work hard and prepare for a tough final. Murphy explained that Crestwood plays a full court trap and it’s difficult to overcome.
Head coach Marcello Lio mentioned the same thing. The Saints lost twice earlier in the year to this team.
In the finals this past Saturday on the road the Saints fell to the Crestwood Lions 81-40. It was a tough battle for the Saints, who were very tentative right from tip-off.
It wasn’t until after the first quarter, down 25-11, the team became despondent to a chance at a comeback. That didn’t stop the boys from playing hard.
Once the game was over, the boys came together on the court to receive their silver medals.
“I’m extremely proud. What we accomplished this season, getting here in this league, I’m very proud of them,” explained Lio. “They never quit. We were down by a good chunk of points today and the guys never quit. They kept working on what we were trying to do, defensively and offensively.”
By Robert Belardi