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Kingston teams all gone from OFSAA
Posted: March 5th, 2013 @ 5:02pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
No, Robin Dzierniejko said, "it wasn't a misprint."
The line on the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations website was, sadly for the Holy Cross Crusaders, correct.
Undefeated so far in the tournament and leading by seven after three quarters of their triple-A quarter-final game, the Crusaders really did surrender 33 points in the fourth quarter. After holding Burlington Notre Dame to just 22 points in the first 24 minutes of play, the Crusaders really did lose the game 55-38, and as a consequence were eliminated from further play at the same point in the tournament as they were a year ago.
"We had 'em," the Crusaders coach said. "Six and a half minutes left and we had 'em.
"Then they went on a bit of a run."
Notre Dame's Mike Mullin hit two three-point baskets, then the Crusaders turned the ball over twice. The lug nuts on the wheels of the Holy Cross bus were starting to loosen and Notre Dame, the OFSAA silver medallist last year, was ready to pounce.
"They attacked our zone," Dzierniejko said. "They broke it down pretty well and they just dumped it down to their big men, who had been kind of their scrub players that they hadn't really been going to at all. They gave it to those two kids and they got some easy ones and that ballooned it a little bit.
"We were out of our offence at that point. We were in a valley and we couldn't climb out of it."
The Crusaders were left to foul to regain possession of the ball but, as it often does, the strategy backfired. Dan Dooley, who finished with a game-high 22 points for Notre Dame, was flawless.
"He must have been 15-for-15," Dzierniejko said. "It was insane."
It was a disappointing outcome for the Crusaders, a team that was played poised basketball through all but one of its 12 quarters at the tournament.
"Overall the (Monday) games went well," said Dierniejko, whose team entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed. "Both games we started out a little bit shaky and I think nerves got the better of them. Some of the boys were saying it's tough being the higher seed this year. We've always been the lower seed and you go into the games and you have nothing to lose. Going in as the higher seed makes things a little more difficult, sometimes, because you're playing with those nerves. Everyone expects you to win."
Still, the Crusaders were able to overcome the jitters - until the fourth quarter Tuesday.
"We were playing phenomenally well, disciplined, controlled, patient, and we were for three quarters of this game," Dzierniejko said, "but they're a very good team. They have three kids that are going to CIS."
Brent Martindale led Holy Cross Tuesday with 15 points, while Brody Maracle scored 11.
Despite the disappointment of their final game together, Dzierniejko remains steadfastly proud of his players.
"There were a lot of free throws down the stretch (today); maybe we didn't sub as much as we should have in the fourth quarter, but to be honest," he said, "I think the thing that hurt us is trying to respect the job action that the public schools had taken and play only Catholic schools and follow the OECTA directive.
"We were very limited in who we were able to play, unless we were willing to travel to Burlington or Windsor every weekend and play some of the strong Catholic tournaments. We tried to stick around and play teams in this area and that made things difficult. We didn't get in as many good games that you need, where you face adversity and you face some of the obstacles that you're going to face at OFSAA.
"We faced it a bit in our first two games, but we faced it early on, when we had fresh legs and fresh minds and we fought back. We faced it when we were tired this game and that was the difference - we were just too gassed. We didn't have enough of those types of games this year.
Getting this far, Dzierniejko said, is a testament to his players.
"I'm very happy with what our guys were able to overcome," he said. "It's tough as a high school kid when you don't have a KASSAA, you don't have an EOSSAA, you don't get to play against your buddies at other schools.
"Our guys were still able to come to practice every day and buckle down, not knowing when their next game would be all the time. Knowing that there is a carrot at the end, but it's a long way off. I'm proud of our guys for being able to fight through that and commit and work as hard as they did. We had some pretty hard and intense practices and for our guys to be able to practise like that for literally four months is pretty substantial."
La Salle Black Knights were ousted from the OFSAA double-A boys basketball tournament in York Region Tuesday afternoon, when they lost 48-41 to Ste-Famille of Mississauga.
The Knights, who finished the tournament 1-1, trailed 25-21 at halftime but they led 32-31 going into the fourth quarter.
Jesse Graham led La Salle with 15 points.
Rideau District Lions were eliminated from the single-A boys basketball tournament in North Bay Tuesday morning when they dropped a 60-34 decision to Ridley of St. Catharines. The Lions managed to score just 12 points in the second half as they dropped their second game in a row.
Caleb Rice scored eight points for Rideau, while teammate Michael Grant scored 7.
At the girls AAA volleyball tournament in Windsor, the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers dropped their consolation quarter-final match 3-0 to St. Thomas of Villanova, 25-11, 25-13, 25-20. The Panthers lost all four of their matches, winning just one set in the process.
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