By CLAUDE SCILLEY
It took a while for Jacob Gosselin to get used to his new team.
It took some time for his new teammates to get used to him.
Now that the compatibility issues appear to be nicely resolved, the rest of the league might have to re-think how to deal with the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers.
Gosselin scored a season-best 25 points Thursday to lead the Panthers to an 83-34 win over the Bayridge Blazers on the final day of the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior basketball season.
It was the second game in a row that Gosselin has led the Panthers in scoring, and that’s a nice piece of news for a Regi team that had been scuffling its way to the playoffs, having lost three of its previous four games, to finished the regular year 5-4—after a 3-0 start.
Gosselin comes from a military family. His brother, Matt, played at Regi but the family spent the last two years on a posting to Colorado Springs. When Jacob arrived Regi in the fall, "we recognized the name,” Panthers coach Ed Kenney said.
“It was a joy to see him because he’s a tall kid who can leap and he loves the game.
“Like any kid that moves, he’s had some adjustments (to make), but more recently he’s the guy on our team who’s on the most obvious upward trajectory.”
Kenney said that while in the U.S., Gosselin played at a school of more than 2,000 students. “Their post player was 6-8, 6-9.” Gosselin was a guard, but at Regi, as one of the tallest players on the team, he was asked to play close to the basket.
“He can play both inside and outside,” Kenney said. “Where I think he initially wanted to play outside, he’s gotten a lot of rewards going inside. He is (a strong rebounder), and it’s a bit of a contradiction, because he’s quiet; he’s polite to a fault, but when he plays, he plays hard and he fights for (rebounds).”
A confident young man, Kenney said one of the keys to Gosselin’s improvement is easy to identify. “He’s got good friendships with the kids and they enjoy playing together.”
As simple as that may seem, it’s a hopeful sign for the Panthers as they head into next week’s quarter-final match with the Sydenham Golden Eagles, a team that pinned a 56-47 on Regi during the regular year.
“Our style is probably different, and we put him in a position that he was less familiar with,” Kenney said. “I don’t think he embraced it initially, but when we play well, he plays a big role in (that).
“The kids now really look for him. There’s that two-way relationship. He gets rewarded, so he likes to play there; the boys see that he’s playing well, so they want to give him the ball.”
Eli Deluzio, with 15 points, and Liam Huntley, with 13, also reached double digits for Regi. Bayridge, which finished the season 1-8, got 14 points from Matt Brash, most of which came from four three-point baskets.
The regular schedule closed with the La Salle Black Knights defeating the Napanee Golden Hawks 46-34 and the Kingston Blues defeating the Granite Ridge Gryphons 87-11.
La Salle’s win created a three-team tie for sixth place, with the Knights, Napanee and Queen Elizabeth all finishing the regular year 3-6. Further complicating the issue is the fact the teams were all 1-1 in games among themselves, as QE beat La Salle, Napanee beat QE and La Salle beat Napanee. None of them defeated any of the teams that finished above them in the standings.
That left KASSAA convenor Frank Halligan with no choice but to get out the trusty tie-breaking coin, an exercise that eventually kicked Napanee out of the equation and into sixth place. Queen Elizabeth was placed seventh by virtue of its 68-50 win over La Salle on Dec. 15.
At KC, the second-place Blues put the final touch on an 8-1 season. They pitched a shutout in the first quarter, 21-0, and three of the five players who reached double figures in scoring came off the bench to do so: Tshepo Watungwa, who led the winners with 13 points, Tim Montgomery, who scored 12, and Kai Ferrall, who had 11. Robert Cadman also scored 12 points for the Blues, while Isaac Foley added 11.
In quarter-finals Tuesday, regular-season champion Holy Cross, 9-0, will host La Salle; Queen Elizabeth will play at KC; Frontenac, 7-2, will entertain Napanee, and Regi will play at fourth-place Sydenham, which finished the year 6-3.