Vanier came in as a favourite in this big game in Quebec.They held the number one spot in province at the CEGEP level all season. Generally speaking, they’ve been dominant due to their depth, and finished the season on top as a result. Vanier showed resilience and Montmorency a very valiant effort that almost one them the chip.
Late game heroics from Nginyu Ngala put Vanier in position to win the game; that and the play call from Coach Andy Hertzog to go into zone defense, to focus on taking away penetration from Elie Karojo.
Before cutting down the mesh, Coach Hertzog explained the game plan coming out of the timeout in the last 2 minutes of play.
“We needed to change things up on them. They called the timeout, they were setting up a play for the defense they’ve been seeing all the time so we had to switch it up and confuse them.”
Ngala is a gamer, he’s been that way since his days at St-Laurent. The big moments are something he never shies away from. This game was much of that. He answered every bucket from Montmorency and put in the final dagger with 3 seconds to play.
“Coach Hertzog told us to stay composed and not pay attention to anything else but what’s happening in this game. We lost to these guys 3 times last year and this year we came back and beat them 3 teams in a row, so it was personal for us, it was game 7.”
The championship game was a back and forth affair the entire way. The biggest lead of the game was eight points and that was in the first quarter for Montmorency. From that point on baskets were traded until Vanier took a four point lead in the third that was quickly taken back.
Blondeau Tchoukuiegn, a lead guard for Montmorency, was spectacular throughout the semi-final and finals. He finished with 27 points in the semi and then went on to pour in 20 in the finals with his running mate Karojo providing 18.
Tchoukuiegn is a division one caliber guard who is very under the radar. He’s a two way player that finishes through contact , breaks down his man and plays the pick and roll extremely well. A rare breed in the sense that he leaves it all on the floor every game, every possession.
The three ball is the only thing that didn’t fall for Tchoukuiegn and Montmorency. As a team they shot 3-18 from the perimeter.
On Vanier’s squad they have multiple pieces who will be moving on to play at that collegiate level. Karim Mane is one of them.
Mane had a relatively quiet night but an efficient one. He finished with 12 points and chipped in with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
The energy in the gym and the fans in attendance for both squads set the stage for what was sure to be a down to the last shot type of game. The environment delivered. CEGEP basketball is alive and well and the Vanier Cheetahs are the 2018-2019 Champions.