Oshawa, ON— In a packed Durham College gym, a split crowd of more than 300 students and parents witnessed the slaying of one of Canada’s top high school teams. The Pickering High School Trojans punched their ticket to the OFSAA finals after an 83-72 victory over J Clarke Richardson; a team led by McMaster commit and sharpshooter Aaron Redpath, along with top prospects Leon Alexander and Tyrelle Samuels.
NPH #2-ranked J Clarke had all but punched their ticket to the provincial championships (OFSAA), yet a motivated Pickering squad had other ideas Thursday night.
“We’re the underdogs, everyone was rooting against us, everyone was saying we’re going to lose, and that was like our motivation pregame. We wanted to prove to everyone we were the better team, and that we were planning to go to OFSSA,” said game MVP Jevon Jacobs after the game.
Jacobs led his team from the start of the game right till the final buzzer registering 11pts in the win.
“We were up 10, mostly double digit points, I kind of felt that we had the game, but that didn’t take away my mentality; push, push, push until the game’s finally over.”
Jacobs’s poise and ball handling was the difference as J Clarke was unable to contain him during the press.
The marquee match-up at the point guard position which featured the aforementioned Jacobs and J Clarke’s Tyrelle Samuels didn’t disappoint, as they went head to head, Samuels recording a game-high 21.
A subpar performance from swingmen Aaron Redpath and Leon Alexander left much of the scoring load to Samuels. Redpath finished with a quite 13 points and Alexander chipped in with 7.
The Trojans finally closed the game out with 3 straight possessions resulting in a three point field goal, following a late JCR run which brought the lead back down to single digits late in the fourth quarter. The three straight trifectas prompted a “ballgame” chant from the green and gold faithful.
J Clarke ends a season which saw them nationally ranked for most of the season and regarded as one of the top schools in the province. The rebuilding will begin in Ajax for the Richardson group as they lose key seniors Aaron Redpath (McMaster), Leon Alexander (Undecided) Tyrelle Samuels (Undecided) among other seniors who will be moving on to life after high school.
As for the Trojans, they head to London, Ontario for the OFSAA championships which will be played from March 7-9.
Stay tuned for NPH OFSAA coverage, live from London!