Written By Quebec Correspondent – Daniel Saliofsky
MONTREAL, QC–Led by a stifling full court press and a relentless fast paced offense, Henri Bourassa rode a strong second half surge to a 95-78 win over Brebeuf in the Quebec Provincial High School Championship game.
St.Michael’s from Toronto and Henri Bourassa are the only two teams in the country with a perfect season on Canadian soil and provincial championship.
Trailing 43-40 after a poor shooting first half, Henri Bourassa turned up the heat in the second. Their suffocating man to man defense wore Brebeuf down, turning them over time and time again and allowing Henri Bourassa’s superior athletes, notably twin brothers Nudy and Judy Georges, to get out on the break and play in transition.
“Our strategy at halftime was to put even more pressure, because we knew it was just a matter of time before Brebeuf would get tired,” Henri Bourassa coach José Bosquet said. “Getting the ball up became harder (for them) and we gave them less time to get into their sets. It was tough for Brebeuf because we were constantly putting pressure on the ball.”
Henri Bourassa scored five quick points to regain the lead at the start of the second, and used their defensive pressure to score in bunches all half, including a thrilling third quarter sequence which saw Nudy Georges turn two straight steals into two rim rattling dunks in just 10 seconds.
Though Henri Bourassa came out strong to start the half, the third quarter was mostly up and down the rest of the way, as Brebeuf star Emmanuel Bandoumel kept his team in it with several big plays, including a pull up three to stop a seven point Henri Bourassa run and a difficult fall away bank at the buzzer. Eventually, the defensive pressure and athleticism of the Georges brothers, Jean Clairemond and the rest of Henri Bourassa was simply too much.
“Everyone has a role,” Bosquet said. “Our defense is our bread and butter, we put pressure all game, for four quarters. That’s what we do.”
As Bosquet had hoped, Henri Bourassa’s pace paid dividends as they owned the 4th quarter, outscoring Brebeuf 31-16 in the frame amid a wave of fast break layups and putbacks. Brebeuf kept the deficit manageable in the early going, but as the quarter went on, Henri Bourassa began to pull away, culminating in a spectacular Judy to Nudy alley-oop that gave the Beliers a late 13 point lead and nearly brought the house down.
While they struggled shooting from deep and scoring against Brebeuf’s halfcourt zone, the Georges’ brothers were ferocious on the defensive end and still productive offensively as Nudy finished with 20 points (9/16 from the field) and Judy finished with 13 (6/16).
Jerry Lapaix led Henri Bourassa with 29 points (10/28), showing glimpses of a developing inside/outside game- including a sweet up and under move late against Bandoumel- but he also struggled at times with turnovers and missed shots.
Bandoumel was dominant for Brebeuf in this one, nearly willing his team to an upset with 33 points and 19 boards. He was a threat from everywhere on the floor, cleaning up the glass with tip ins and putbacks (11 offensive rebounds), pulling up for long jumpers and even running the break, throwing down a monster jam in the first quarter on a beautiful transition step through.
However, Henri Bourassa’s pressure and depth was able to wear him down a bit as the game went on as they held the Brebeuf star to only 14 points in the second half.
“He’s a very good player; you can’t really stop him completely” Bosquet said. “But he can’t score 60 points himself. He’ll score 20, 25 points, but you just have to contain him, which is what we did.”
Daric Labadie chipped in with 13 points in an uncharacteristically poor shooting night (1/7 from deep) while Delpe Doukaga added 10 while also playing excellent defense on the back end of the Brebeuf zone.
A bulk of the graduating talent from this game and from other teams in the tournament will go on to CEGEP next season. They are now on the National radar and will be tracked year round.
As always, #GameSpeaks.
All quotes by Coach Bosquet were translated from French to English.