Shoot the Rock results, and the Stars do just that
by Randy Pascal
Last weekend would not only bring a close to the fall high school sports schedule, with OFSAA championships across the province for both girls basketball
and boys volleyball, but also supplied an interesting early season barometer in a couple of the winter sports.
The annual “Shoot the Rock” Invitational gathered sixteen boys basketball teams, with entries ranging from Kingston to Barrie, Timmins to Sudbury,
Walkerton to Sault Ste Marie. When all was said and done, it was the out of town crews who would garner the spotlight, as the St Joseph’s Jaguars
from Barrie disposed of the St Mary’s Knights (Sault Ste Marie) by a final score of 67-54 in the championship affair.
Tournament MVP Noah Ulett drained no less than nine three point baskets as part of a 34-point performance to lead the Jags to victory. Meanwhile,
St Mary’s eliminated the final local hope on the championship side of the draw, bouncing the Lasalle Lancers in semi-final play.
The consolation bracket proved much more favourable for local content, as the Lo-Ellen Park Knights downed the St Charles College Cardinals
66-57 in an all-Sudbury affair. Abraham Soumahoro (16), Callum Bruser (12) and Connor Jermyn (11) showed the way offensively for the
winners, while Shane Poitras hit double digit for the Cards with 13 points.
The tournament all-star team included Callum Bruser (LOE), Gianni Viotto (STM), Cole Evans (STM), Trey Wilson (STJ) and Noah Ulett
(STJ). There is a definite buzz in the city regarding the local boys basketball ranks, with several of the coaches who were canvassed confirming that the
top half of the Division I standings, a group that should include Lasalle, Lo-Ellen, Collège Notre-Dame, Sudbury Secondary, St Charles, Macdonald-Cartier
and Lockerby might well be as tightly matched as any group in the past 20-30 years.
After advancing to the city finals one year ago, the Sudbury Secondary North Stars are among the teams most poised to take a serious run at
dethroning the Lasalle Lancers.
More evidence in that regard was presented this past Wednesday as the North Stars handled the Lockerby Vikings with relative ease, outscoring the
Vikes 85-47. A close game at the half (36-29) was busted wide open as Sudbury Secondary compiled a 28-5 third quarter run in putting this game away.
Most impressive in that sequence was a streak for Stars' senior Emeric Fitzpatrick, as the red-hot shooter recorded his team's first 18 points
of the second half, a stretch that included a quartet of baskets from beyond the arc.
"I know when I feel like that, find my shot and get it going," said Fitzpatrick after the game. "They (my teammates) will give me the ball, space out,
run a couple of plays for me. Same thing with anybody that gets hot. We'll switch it up, run the plays for them and get the open man."
The truth of the matter is that the North Stars were extremely successful in spreading around the offense. In addition to the 26 point effort from
Fitzpatrick, the victors also would see no less ten of his teammates also hit the scoresheet: Ke'Andre Willis (14), Noah Blackburn (10),
Jett Lafortune (9), Joe Cabigon (7), Ethan Watson (6), Christian Rokols (4), Ryan Fisher (3), Ray Trudeau (2),
Morley Kramp (2) and Spencer Lafortune (2).
Coach Kent Rendell has put together a squad that is a borderline track team, wasting little time working their way up and down the court,
regardless of who is on the floor. "We are amazing at transition," conceded Fitzpatrick.
"We can run the floor. Coach has always got us in the gym, running. At the tournament (Shoot the Rock), we realized that and tried to execute it here."
And while the balance of scoring is evident through the numbers above, the reality is that much of the offense for the 2017-2018 North Stars is likely to
run through either Fitzpatrick or Willis.
"Me and my best friend, Ke'Andre, we put umpteen hours of work in, all summer," noted Fitzpatrick. "We were in the gym, shooting shots, 500 when we get
in, 500 when we get out. Me and him have excelled past what we thought we could."
Julian Simeoni (15) and Emmett Taillefer (15) accounted for a one-two punch for Lockerby, with Mathieu Michel (8), Trevor
Popowich (5) and Aidan Luoma (4) also helping out on the scoresheet.
A large number of the Sudbury and area teams are back in tournament action this weekend, taking part in the Arthur Gabor Classic. Heading into
play on Saturday afternoon, the Collège Notre-Dame Alouettes were heading to the semi-finals, facing Keswick, while both Lo-Ellen and Lasalle
fell by the wayside in the quarters, eliminated by Orillia and O'Gorman respectively.