Clythus Griffith remembers being in the ninth grade with his team in the Xavier Rim Rocker, where wins were tough to come by.
Four years later, the senior guard and his team are crowned Rim Rocker champions defeating St Marcellinus, while making a statement in the process — St Joseph has arrived on the Peel basketball scene.
Griffith, who was named MVP after 22 points in the final, states that he has heard the whispers throughout the early season as the Jaguars have picked up key wins.
“People are like ‘who’s St Joseph? Where are they from'” said Griffith.
“We’re finally here,” he continued, with a relieved look on his face.
Coach Terry Balaura and Fadi Jolag take a more conservative approach, saying that the team won’t get too high or too low following wins or losses, but that the squad will enjoy the moment and get on to the next one
Multiple Jaguars stepped up in this one.
Oge Nwoko kept the game within striking distance in the first half, providing production in the mid-range and around the basket, despite the extreme length and shot blocking presence of 6’9 Jaden Bediako.
Dimitri Lim, who finished with 16 points, hit a clutch three down the stretch to seal the deal, after St Joseph was down virtually the entire game. Mark Anthony-Pereira also made key baskets.
Defensively, Gareth Baugh was getting physical with Bediako all game and making him work, while creating scoring opportunities for his teammates on the interior.
For St Marcellinus, this young group was one victory away from their first tournament title of the season, however it was not meant to be, unable to close out in crunch time.
The Spirit undoubtedly missed the presence of lead guard Noah Wharton who was out for most of the game due to cramps.
That said, the development of Jaden Bediako has been a treat to witness. The national team member is starting to embrace contact and fight for interior position. From a defensive and rebounding standpoint, Bediako was a beast all weekend. Offensively, he is showing signs of comfort, patience and skill—would love to see him get more touches down low.
You should expect continued growth from these young guns throughout the season, a definite contender for the regional title.
As for Griffith and St Joseph? Much of the same.
“We want the Peel title…we’re coming for it.”