A one point win for 17U Jam in Newmarket final
by Randy Pascal
Despite returning just four players from their 2016-2017 roster, the Sudbury 17U Jam Boys are wasting little time building some team cohesiveness. Competing in their first tournament of the year, the locals claimed gold at the IEM Tournament in
Newmarket, edging the York South Silver Knights 64-63 in the final.
A 65-53 triumph over AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union) Toronto got the ball rolling for the Jam, as Michael Babcock paced the attack with 14 points, with Shane Poitras and Hunter Adams adding 13 and 11
respectively. Unfortunately, an impressive 82-52 victory over the Inner City Saints from Brampton came at a price, as an ankle injury to Phil Gathercole will cost the teenager the balance of the club season.
Thrown off-kilter, just a touch, the Jam suffered their only loss in Newmarket in game three, beaten 64-63 by the Lindsay Wildcats. Adams (13), Nathan Scully (11), and Poitras, Babcock and Joe Cabigon, all with 10, provided the bulk
of the offense for the Sudbury reps.
Needing a win Sunday morning to advance to the gold medal encounter, the Jam overcame a sluggish start, spotting the North Toronto Warriors a 12-0 lead before rallying for a 72-63 win. Draining no less than seven baskets from beyond the arc, Babcock
exploded to the tune of a 32-point performance, carrying his team to the final.
Scully was also effective with three-point baskets, hitting for four as part of his 18 point effort. The grand finale was a nip and tuck affair, with Sudbury trailing 19-17 after the opening quarter, but claiming a 35-32 lead by the half. A third quarter run increased the margin
to seven points (55-48), a good thing, as the Knights rallied late, pulling up just one point short.
Babcock (21) and Scully (18) again came through as a top end one-two punch, with Adams adding another 12 points, eight of which came courtesy of free throws. Matt Gareau, Spencer Damato, Zack Jordan and Christian Bérubé round out the
roster for the northern team under the tutelage of the father-daughter coaching tandem of John and Megan Desormeaux.
The team will enjoy one weekend off before travelling to Markham, site of the MUMBA (Markham Unionville Minor Basketball Association) Tournament from May 5th to the 7th. The Jam will also close out their season in Markham, with provincials set
for the weekend of May 26th to the 28th.