NPH Top Preformers
Vince Munoz – 19 points
Zach Regert – 17 points
Rodel Aaron – 10 points
Patrick Mart – 7 points
Brett Jewell – 16 points
Luke Herr – 16 points
Boris Zimbakov – 18 points
Winnipeg,MB–If you think a 9:30am bronze medal High School game isn’t going to be exciting, you’re wrong. The Sturgeon Heights Huskies and the John Taylor Pipers faced off for third place after they both lost in the semi-finals of the Wesmen Classic.
Sturgeon Heights emerged victorious 67-65 in a game that went down to the wire, with Rodel Aaron making the last second shot after Kuet Kuet missed both free throw shots for John Taylor.
In the first quarter both teams looked a little slow on defence and allowed the early morning game get the best of them. Sturgeon Heights guard Patrick Mart was playing to his aggressive style and scored five points in the first quarter of play.
John Taylor’s Luke Herr was matched up with Patrick Mart as they battled back and forth throughout the game. Mart picked up two early fouls in the second quarter and was pulled out of the game after getting four quick fouls in the semi-final game.
Mart spoke to NPH after the game, “I didn’t get the minutes I wanted in the third quarter but I just tried to stay positive and when I got back in the fourth my offensive game wasn’t in rhythm and I tried to lock down defensively on Luke.
“He’s a good player and I kept in check for most of the game”.
Luke Herr had another solid performance scoring 16 points and doing whatever was asked of him: guarding, driving to the basket, shooting the three.
While the guard battle was taking place, Brett Jewell of John Taylor was doing major damage down low grabbing rebounds with an almost chip on his shoulder.
Jewell showed why he was a provincial team selection and was extremely important for the Pipers throughout this game and the tournament. Brett was a monster on the offensive and defensive glass and playing with intensity.
After the halftime break, both teams started to shake the slow play and step up the intensity. Both teams were able to force five second inbound violations and force the other team to make offensive mistakes. While there were mistake,s Zach Regert and Vince Munoz started to heat up scoring nine and seven points respectively.
Zach spoke to NPH after the game on he felt about his third quarter performance, “It felt pretty good actually, in the start of the third quarter I followed through and made my shots, although I was a little off in the fourth quarter.”
Vince Munoz, who was coming up just short offensively in the semi-final, finally got those lane drive floaters to fall. He led the Huskies with 19 points and found his offensive rhythm in the second half.
“In the early games (semi-final game) my shots weren’t falling but I knew it was just a matter of time before they started to fall.”
In the final minutes of the game John Taylor started to come back after falling behind for most of the game. The Pipers went to the free throw line often in the final minutes but were unable to come away with points.
Sturgeon capitalized on the mistakes and converted when it needed to coming away victorious.
Sturgeon Heights coach Stephen Tackie talked about the victory and how they played down the stretch.
“We executed, offensively in the clutch, the biggest thing is that people knew their roles and did their roles down the stretch, when you do that all pieces fall together and good things happen,” he explained.
It’s a game where we had to defend late and score late and any time you have a game like that it develops character. You learn how to win in clutch games, some players struggle with it individually but as a unit we learned that we can come out on top, this gives us the confidence moving forward.”
John Taylor and Sturgeon Heights will face off again in the regular season and it should be another can’t miss game at a not so early start.