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PECI senior boys tournament champs at Trinity

Prince Edward Collegiate Institute Senior Boys played their best basketball of the season with a win at the Trinity College Invitational Tournament on the weekend.

“It was a pretty big weekend for our team,” said Coach Rob Garden. “We’ve had a very strange year so far and we’ve really struggled to find any consistency to our game. However, this weekend we kept getting better and better with each game and played our best game of the season to win the tournament.”

Garden provides a tournament re-cap:

Game 1 vs Appleby College: 48 – 47 win

Our first game vs. Appleby was a see-saw battle from tip to buzzer. They were long and very athletic, but our guys did a good job in the first half getting back on defense and eliminating their transition game.

We went into the break leading 24 – 18. However, like we have done far too often this season, we took our foot off the gas pedal in the third quarter and Appleby started to grab the momentum. We continued to struggle in the fourth quarter and with 24 seconds left, Appleby went up 47 – 44 on a blown coverage which gave them a wide open three.

We advanced the ball down court and worked the ball to Johnny McHugh who was fouled on a three-point attempt with 17 seconds left. He hit the first shot: 47 – 45 Appleby. He missed the second. We called a timeout and told him to purposefully miss the 3rd shot in the hope that we could secure the rebound and try to score.

There aren’t too many times in a basketball game where a coach would ever call a miss beautiful, but this one was perfect. He hit the back of the iron and the ball was up for grabs. Alex Arsenault and Braedan Kelly did a great job out jumping the Appleby guys and got the ball to Johnny who shot and missed. However, we got the rebound again and found Johnny again in the corner who hit a fadeaway three-pointer: 48 – 47 Panthers.

With 6 seconds left, Appleby pushed the ball over half and called a timeout with 3.7 seconds on the clock. We weren’t engaged on the inbounds play that they ran and they got a wide-open layup. Thankfully we fouled them and they didn’t score, but unfortunately, they went to the line. The basketball Gods were looking down on us and the Appleby player missed both free throws and we got the win.

Game 2 vs Trinity College School Junior Varsity: 54 – 15 win

Not much of a game. This team wasn’t supposed to be in the tournament but a team dropped out due to the weather so they stepped up and filled a spot. We won easily 54 – 15.

Game 3 vs Trinity College School Varsity: 52 – 34 win

Trinity College is a top team in the CISSA so we knew that we would have our hands full. However, our defense had improved over the course of the tournament so we knew that if we defended well and stopped their athletic guards from penetrating, we would force them to take tough shots. Our other two areas of focus in the finals were to win the rebound game and keep our turnovers under 10.

The first half was the best basketball we have played all season. We played really aggressive half-court defense including three charging fouls. We rebounded with a purpose and only turned the ball over two times. We also hit a season-high eight three-pointers in the first half. We went into the break up 34 – 23. We knew that the key was going to be staying aggressive and trying to win as opposed to playing scared and worrying about losing.

We haven’t played well with a lead all season, but something clicked and we kept our foot on the gas pedal. TCS threw everything they had at us and we rose to the challenge. Our guards took care of the ball, our bigs kept rebounding, and our two best players, Johnny and Alex outscored their entire team 16 – 11 in the second half.

Overall it was a great team effort to kick off the second half of our season. Johnny was unstoppable in the first and third game. Alex was equally as impressive.

Garden says the team has a big test on Tuesday vs. STSS, “but if we can play with the same level of aggression and confidence that we did this weekend, we will compete and look to upset the number two team.”

Filed Under: Hastings & Prince Edward District School BoardNews from Everywhere ElsePECI - It's a Panther ThingSports & Recreation

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