By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Bayridge Blazers coach Geoff Stewart confessed Tuesday that the La Salle Black Knights were the one team he wasn’t eager to face in the playoffs.
“Not that wanted to play Holy Cross or we wanted to play Regi or we wanted to play KC,” Stewart said, “but (La Salle) is athletic—and we’re basketball players. Sometimes because of the style of game they play, athletes can keep you in the game even if their basketball skills aren’t as strong as those on the other team.”
Sure enough, the Blazers, who finished third in the regular season with an 8-2 record, got their scare from the 5-5 Black Knights in the second quarter, as the visitors pulled within five points. That was as close as it would get, however, as Bayridge emerged with a 45-31 victory in one of four Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior basketball quarter-finals.
In the others, the regular-season champion Sydenham Golden Eagles easily disposed of the Napanee Golden Hawks, 69-26; the Frontenac Falcons beat the Holy Cross Crusaders 46-32 and the Kingston Blues completed the day’s only upset, gaining a 61-50 overtime win over the fourth-place Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers.
That means Thursday’s semifinals will pit Bayridge against Frontenac in a 5 o’clock game at Frontenac, and KC against Sydenham in a match that will commence at 3:30 in Sydenham.
In a first half at Bayridge where neither offence shone, the Blazers led 20-15 at halftime.
“I felt we got out-athleted a little bit in the second quarter and the start of the third,” Stewart said, “but we started sharing the ball more effectively and I was able to get Jordan back in for about three minutes in the third quarter and our defensive communication improved. As a result we were able to create a little bit of separation.”
Jordan Fehr, Bayridge’s most experienced defender, came out of the game for long stretches after he took his third foul about 10 minutes into the game, and his fourth late in the third quarter.
“Our defensive communication breaks down with him off the floor,” Stewart said. “You could say, ‘They only made four layups, that doesn’t seem like very many,’ but we didn’t score in the second quarter.
“They played defence really well and we played defence not as well as we wanted to. When I got him back out there, it gave us a lift defensively. We had a significant number of stops. In probably their last 15 to 18 possessions they hit a deep three, we sent them to the line a couple of times, but that was about it.”
Bayridge outscored La Salle 8-2 in the third quarter.
“We weren’t really lighting up the scoreboard but that got us to 11 ahead and it stayed between seven and 11 for the rest of the game,” Stewart said. “It wasn’t comfortable but we were hitting enough shots at the end of the game that we weren’t feeling a sense of desperation in what we were doing.”
Matt Brash led the Blazers with 15 points, while Austin Macklem scored 14. Mitch Dowd and Mason Kenehan scored eight points apiece for La Salle.
• In the game at Frontenac, the Falcons prevailed in a scrappy affair that coach Suche James called “ugly.” Kyle Casford scored 12 points and Carter Matheson added 10 for the Falcons, while Brayden Norris scored seven points for Holy Cross.