HAMILTON,ON–Day Two of the 2011 Chancellor tournament had me raving about prospects all day on Twitter, and rightfully so; as their has been an abundance of talent that the NPH team has had a chance to focus in on in the past month.
On elimination day, the host team, St. Thomas More Knights had their hooligans on the edge of their seats in two close games against Loyola (Oakville) and Nelson. The Knights picked up a 54-52 win over Rohan Boney and the Loyola Hawks.
After having a 25-8 lead mid-way through the second half, the Knights began to turnover the ball as a result of rushed possessions, and watched as the Hawks took flight and chipped away at the lead. Matt Brown, a 6’5 long and athletic Small Forward for the Knights, was a crucial contributor in keeping this game from slipping away; he as well as Boney finished with 18 apiece.
With an eight point lead and two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter of regulation, there was huge defensive plays on both ends of the court. Boney and Brown both had blocks that couldn’t have came at better timing.
2012 Sleeper prospect, Xzennis Brereton had been leading his team throughout the tournament yet was not very effective against Loyola. He played a little more reserved and it showed because he normally is explosive and decisive in his attack.
Although Jake Babic was quiet for the Hawks in this one, he nailed a contested long-bomb to bring his team within three right after Boney connected from long distance.
This would not be enough as STM was still up by two and would go on to defeat Loyola 54-52.
Nelson was the win they needed to advance to the semi-finals, however were unable to perform this task due to the fatigue that was shown in the fourth quarters of both games. This can be expected when a team plays five games in three days and has several role players with injuries sitting out the tournament. Furthermore, St Thomas More are without their star player Lamar Barr.
Despite the loss, the Knights put a valiant effort in not letting the game get out of hand, after being down by as many as 15 in the second quarter. It was just a matter of slowing down the pace of the game offensively and getting the ball to swing. A stagnant half court set has never worked for any team, and the Knights refused to be the exception.
Coming out of a timeout called by Head Coach Stefano Giovannangeli, the Knights adjusted and were able to get each other involved.
Paul Petruccelli, a 6’4 Small Forward for STM, was a big factor in gaining possessions for his team while battling for boards against a much larger 6’8 Power Forward for Nelson, Uros Ljeskovic. The big senior from Serbia has been averaging 16 boards per contest for Nelson and was dominant in this game in rebounding as well as scoring in the paint.
With 1:30 left, Jeremy Angelini of STM was hitting big shots to both, tie and give his team a lead. A final bucket in regulation from Ljeskovic would tie the game again and take it into overtime. In OT, he would have six of Nelson’s eight points and take the victory over the home team 49-47.
The NPH team is looking forward to seeing St. Thomas More as a complete and healthy team, come this January. We believe they have the potential to be the strongest overall team in the Catholic league in Hamilton. We wish them a safe trip during the Christmas break as they head to Erie, Pennsylvania for a tournament.