By CLAUDE SCILLEY
There’s no doubt, Suche James says, that his team learned something this week.
“Tuesday’s game was a good lesson for us,” said the Frontenac Falcons coach, after his basketball team clinched second place with a 64-50 win over the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers.
“We played harder,” continued James, whose team led from the first basket. “I felt like on Tuesday our feet were in cement. Maybe it was just the pace today … it just felt like we moved better, offensively and defensively.”
The aforementioned Tuesday contest was the one at Sydenham where the Golden Eagles handed previously unbeaten Frontenac its first loss of the season in fairly convincing style.
“This was a good bounce-back win,” James said. “You never want to lose two in a row going into the playoffs. I was worried about that a bit, but the guys were good today. They played hard.
“Tuesday’s game was a good lesson for us. We didn’t have a great practice Monday and we deserved exactly what we got Tuesday. That was driven home clearly to them in Wednesday’s practice and we were a lot better today.”
The Falcons quietly built the lead from three points, 17-14, at the end of the first quarter to six, 30-24, at halftime. After Regi scored the opening basket of the second half, both teams floundered in a sea of turnovers and bad shots until Frontenac hit consecutive three-pointers to take the lead to 12 points with about five minutes to play in the period.
More or less, that was the lead for the rest of the game. The Panthers got as close as eight points, 43-35, late in the third quarter but a three-point basket by Hoadley Raymond took the lead back to 11 and as far as challenging that lead, the home team wasn’t really heard from again.
“There were points where we showed the same effort and energy that we’re used to,” Regi coach Ed Kenney said, “but (Frontenac has) good enough shooters and they’re well enough coached that at the points where we didn’t, that’s where they made their runs.
“We ended up playing well and looking up at the scoreboard and being six down (at halftime). Then it became points where we could see the peak, but we couldn’t get over it, and that was our fault. The kids from Frontenac took advantage of the fact that we just didn’t seem to be able to match their energy consistently.”
Regi has made an up-tempo game its trademark this year, but often Thursday the Panthers were uncharacteristically caught flat-footed.
“When we look at the way in which we tried to defend Frontenac, we didn’t really have a problem playing five on five,” Kenney said. “They seemed to outplay us at times in transition. We’ve given everyone trouble in transition, so when they were giving us trouble I think we kind of got looking around at each other and wondering, ‘This isn’t typically what happens,’ but it’s a long season and they’re high school kids.
"We’ve seen it so many times in this league, where it’s up and it goes down and it goes right back up. It’s hard to predict. The kids that we have are good kids. They will take a little time and reflect upon it and I’m quite sure that we will come back and play well (in the quarter-final game) on Tuesday.”
In a balanced attack, Frontenac—which played without starter Brendan Steele, who was ill—got double-digit scoring from four players: Tristan Halladay, who scored 14, and Raymond, Kyle Casford and Carter Matheson, who scored 13 points apiece. Casford finished the game with four threes; Halladay had eight of his points in the second quarter, and Raymond had eight in the fourth.
Regi got 19 points from Eli Deluzio and eight points apiece from Dylan Medeiros and Duncan Lambert.
In other senior games in on the final day of the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association regular season, Sydenham completed an undefeated campaign with a 64-35 win over the Queen Elizabeth Raiders, and the Holy Cross Crusaders clinched seventh place—thereby avoiding a first-round date with Sydenham—by defeating the Napanee Golden Hawks 59-25.
In quarter-final games Tuesday, Napanee, 3-7, will visit Sydenham, 10-0; Holy Cross, 4-6, will play at Frontenac, 9-1; Bayridge, 8-2, will entertain La Salle, 5-5, and KC, 6-4, will play at Regi, 7-3.