Excellence once again reigned supreme at the all catholic classic in St. Catharines this weekend, although this time it was from the bleachers.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and watching the final game with two great volunteers in Michael Pollock and Kevin O’Rourke, and St. Catherine’s self proclaimed sports junkie Michael Voelkner.
Pollock is a guidance counsellor at Denis Morris, and was also a CIS national champion at Brock University during the 90s.
He was also one of the many convenors of the Classic that helped the tournament run efficiently and smoothly.
Voelkner is a very passionate Canadian sports fan who loves watching high school, CIS and NCAA Canadians.
He explained to me how he was the coach of the St. Catharines travelling team. Voelkner also had the pleasure of coaching Abu Kigab, Lucas Olsthoorn, along with other St. Francis and Dennis Morris players, having a hefty hand in developing these kids, into as he put it, “great players and people.”
Kevin O’Rourke, a new teacher at Dennis Morris, was a first time member of the all catholic classic.
It is selfless people like this that have helped a high level tournament such as the catholic classic survive for fourty years.
St. Mike’s Tightens the Screws on Defence, Claim All Catholic Championship
Marcus Carr scored 16 points and Danilo Djuricic added 12 for the St. Michaels Blue Raiders as they took home the 40th annual Ontario all catholic classic championship defeating St. Francis in the finals 54-39.
The first half was a tight affair as St. Michael’s went into the break with a 34-30 lead.
St. Francis required Abu Kigab to have a big game and in the first half he was very effective.
Kigab scored 14 of his game high 21 points in the first half, nailing two threes in the first quarter along with multiple and-one baskets in the second.
Early on, Lucas Olsthoorn was dominant, as the six-foot-eight forward scored all nine of his points in the first half.
Needing to pull away, St. Michael’s came out in the second half with a new focus on the defensive side of the ball.
SMC was able to zero in on Abu Kigab and Lucas Olsthoorn all the while shutting down the secondary production from the other Phoenix players.
It was a magnificent defensive effort as they were able to hold St. Francis to a total of nine points in the second half, six points in the third and three points in the fourth.
With the win the Blue Raiders captured their third all Ontario classic championship in the last four years.
DNP (did not play):
St. Mikes – Nelson Kaputo
St. Francis – Cullan Voelkner, Cele Kasamba
3 Take Aways From “The All-Catholic Classic”
Firstly, Marcus Carr.
Either than breaking ankles on the court, Im pretty sure the six-foot-one Marcus Carr can break your hand. Seriously, the kid has a strong grip, so its needless to say I’ll be giving him props next time I see him.
But in all seriousness, Carr put on a show during the classic, filling in very nicely for the absent Nelson Kaputo. Carr was able to get to the rim at will and, at times, showed to be a very capable three point shooter. Being in the class of 2018, high school basketball fans will have to rejoice as they will have the pleasure of seeing Carr for the next two years (hopefully).
Secondly, Bishop Reding has nice pieces, but they need one more year.
The talent on Milton’s Bishop Reding is eye popping; Christian David, Xavier Ochu, and Jordan Braithwaite just to name a few. But they were disappointingly booted out of the first round of the classic by Cathedral despite having a 16-point lead at one point in the third.
As one takes a look at the difference in the two rosters, one thing became clear – age. Bishops roster is filled with only two seniors and a ton of sophomores and juniors while Cathedral has a dominant senior presence (11 of its 14 players). Reding also lacks a dominant big at this point. They do have an intriguing prospect in six-foot-six Daniil Shesterinin, although he still needs time before he becomes an impact player at both ends of the floor. It’s one thing to be talented, it’s another to know how to win, and right now, Redding and its players simply don’t have that skill – yet.
Lastly, Teamwork on the Court is EVERYTHING.
Basketball is truly unique because it can be played one-on-one or as a team sport. However, this can blur the lines of the team aspect of basketball as many players and teams are trying to find that middle. The middle between working together as a team and putting their best players in position to be able to score. As teams near the playoffs, coaches will continue working to try and find that medium, of allowing their good one-on-one players create, all the while doing in a team concept that puts them in the right position to do so.
TOURNMENT ALL-STARS AND MVP.
#22 – Abu Kigab (St.Francis)
#50 Lucas Olsthoom (St. Francis)
#31 Danilo Djuricic (St. Michael)
#25 Christian David (Bishop Redding)
#44 Jamal Abbey-Wright (St. Michael)
MVP – #5 Marcus Carr (St. Michael)