Wild finish at College Notre Dame
by Randy Pascal
A wild finish, both to regulation time and a three minute overtime session, provided the backdrop, as the St Denis Tigers edged the Félix-Ricard
Jaguars 25-24 to claim the Notre-Dame Alouettes Invitational Basketball Tournament (boys division) on Saturday.
Trailing by four with less than a minute to play, St Denis received a key basket from Kevin Watson, who overcame a miss on the accompanying free
throw to calmly deadlock the contest at 20-20 with a pair of baskets from the charity stripe mere moments later.
A pair of misses from the line, with under ten seconds to play, at the other end of the court, forced overtime. An Ethan Corcoran two pointer for
Félix was countered by a three point shot from Samuel Branconnier, before Kaleb Courville restored the one point advantage for the Jaguars.
With time winding down, Max Dumais, who missed a pair of free throws to give the Tigers the lead, deftly split the lane, making a layup with
between seven and eight seconds showing on the clock.
With no timeouts remaining, St Denis moved quickly, as two passes spotted a wide open player, directly below the opposition basket. Tensing up just
slightly, the Jaguars player pulled up just a touch short, hitting the front rim as the buzzer sounded.
"I thought he was going to hit it, I thought we were going to lose," admitted Watson after the game. Accounting for nearly half of his team's scoring with
11 points, the 14 year old grade eight student acknowledged that he wasn't necessarily overwhelmed with the importance of his late game free throws.
"I practice them a lot," said Watson. "I knew those free throws were really important, I had to hit them. My whole team was cheering me on, and that
inspired me. I'm just glad our team won."
The scoring summary for the game is as follows:
St Denis 25: Kevin Watson - 11, Max Dumais - 5, Ethan Roy - 4, Samuel Branconnier - 3, Nicholas Simon - 2
Félix-Ricard 24: Ethan Corcoran - 8, Nico Smith - 6, Darion Baston - 4, Kaleb Courville - 4, Ian Couture - 2
The roster for the Tigers' gold medal winning team includes Jacob Thibault, Max Dumais, Samuel Branconnier, Nicholas Berry, Pierson Sobush,
Kevin Watson, Isaac Kanuthia, Jacob Demoré, Ethan Roy, Simon Michaels, Eric Huneault, Samuel Cloutier, Marco Vigna, Alexandre Martel, Evan
Volpini, Nico Simon, and head coach Emily Tymchuk.
In the girls final, the Jean-Paul II Comètes sprinted to a 16-0 lead following the opening tip-off, holding off a second half rally by the
Macdonald-Cartier Panthères, and securing the hardware with a 29-18 victory.
Paced by a 16-point effort from Emilie Lafond, the Comètes built up a 20-7 lead at the half. "My mom and dad both played basketball in high
school," said Lafond. "I've been working on my post moves, but also on being able to run up and down the court."
Helping out, offensively, for Jean-Paul II, were Amy Vis (11) and Jessica Rivard (2), while Athena Grandmaison (7), Aaliyah
Robinson (6), Melissa Brouillard (3) and Fiona Purpura (2) countered for the Panthères.
"We tried to focus on working together as a team, helping others to play their best game," stated Lafond. "I like that we connect well, and that everyone
on the team is a hard worker."
The Jean-Paul II roster reads as follows: Cassandra Roberts, Jessica Rivard, Savannah Beauchamp, Madison Gobbo, Brooke Croke, Rose Quevillon,
Tera Martin, Mélody Lalonde, Kya Weiman, Chloé Bureau, Amy Vis, Emilie Lafond, and head coach Marcel Blanchard.
The Comètes settled for silver earlier in the week in their league championship encounter, falling to the Félix-Ricard Jaguars. The Jaguars,
who earned silver medals along with a pair of bronze medal finishes at early season tournaments at St Benedict, Lasalle and St Charles, will join several
of the teams which competed at CND, heading to Mississauga, site of the Franco Elementary Basketball Tournament next weekend.
Félix-Ricard boasts a lineup of Brièle Bisaillon, Talia Eusepi, Breighan Love, Emma Lapointe, Martina Begic, Mirelle DiMaio, Rae-Ann Blais, Emma
Bissonnette, Mireille Kingsley, Grace Mainville, Josée Colburne, and coaches Mélanie Mayer and Angela MacIntyre.