EDMONTON,AB–The 2011 Mike Dea Classic held at St. Francis Xavier High School in Edmonton, Alberta is one of the largest high school tournaments held in Western Canada.
The tournament saw 16 senior boys, 12 senior girls and eight alumni teams compete from December 1-3, 2011.
A very strong Leboldus Suns team from Regina won the girls side 88-71 vs. the St. Albert Sky Hawks.
The 16 team boys draw was the most competitive draw ever seen at the tournament. With Bishop O’Byrne, Western Canada and Saint Francis being the #2, #4 and #6 ranked teams in Calgary to start the season.
Top teams from Edmonton in the draw were Paul Kane, the hosts St. FX, Jasper Place, Scona, Ross Sheppard and Archbishop O’leary.
Leboldus from Regina was extremely tough lead by NPH #21-ranked Canadian prospect Joe DeCiman who averaged 40 points per contest over the weekend and lead his team to a fifth place finish.
The southern teams from Lethbridge and Medicine Hat were very competitive but saw themselves all drop to the consolation side of the tournament early.
The real story of the tournament was the Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats out of Calgary. They seamlessly walked through the tournament defeating Catholic Central out of Lethbridge 95-84, then in the quarter-finals easily dismantling Jasper Place 81-63. They followed these two impressive victories with a dominating performance in the semifinals defeating the Paul Kane Blues 92-65. Not only were they winning their games but Bishop O’Byrne players Matthew Matear winning the dunk competition and Gio Shettler winning the three-point point competition added to the teams success over the weekend.
They walked into the final very confident, thinking they would continue their dominating performance over the weekend. On the other side of the draw, the host St. Francis Xavier Rams were very shaky in their opening game win vs. Medicine Hat. They settled down in the second half of their quarter-final victory over Saint Francis (Calgary) winning 75-60.
The Rams continued their strong play in the semifinal holding an 11 point lead with two minutes left vs. the defending provincial silver medalists the Western Canada Redmen. With the home crowd packing the gym and creating an amazing atmosphere, the Rams got tight and the Redmen lead by Sean Persaud’s two huge three-point shots cut the lead to two points with 40 seconds remaining. The Rams finally settled down hitting 3 of 4 free throws to secure a 73-70 semifinal victory.
The final was set with the host St. Francis Xavier Rams (Edmonton) taking on the Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats (Calgary). Most spectators over the weekend assumed the Bobcats from Calgary would role their way to a tournament victory but the home crowd was electric and the Rams defense suffocated the bigger O’Byrne team. St. FX lead by tournament MVP Joey Galan’s 18 points in the final did not disappoint the packed gymnasium and came away with a 67-57 victory.