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Panther Athletics roundup – PECI ‘turned a lot of heads’ at tourney

PECI Panthers went from almost “uninvited” to finishing fourth of 16 top teams from around the province competing at the 8th annual Holy Cross Crusader Christmas Classic Basketball Tournament at Kingston.

About a month ago we received an email from the convenor asking us if we thought we were good enough to be in this tournament,” explained Coach Rob Garden. “He told us that 12 of the 16 teams were either AAA or AAAA from Toronto, Mississauga, Chatham-Kent, London, Ottawa and Kingston. He wasn’t sure that a AA team from Picton was good enough, but I assured him we would be fine. Finishing fourth of 16 teams turned a lot of heads. A few times we heard parents, coaches and players saying ‘Where is Picton and who are these guys?'”

Wrapup by Coach Garden:
Game #1 vs. Frontenac S. S. from Kingston:
The boys jumped out to a 19-4 first quarter lead. We have been stressing to the boys that it’s about the quality of the shots we take, not the quantity. They moved the ball efficiently for the first 8 min, and were patient until the openings came and then they capitalized. Defensively, we played a very strong quarter of man to man defence which frustrated the Falcons. For the remainder of the game, we continued to play solid defence and take care of the basketball. Frontenac came at us in waves for the next three quarters and we were strong enough down the stretch to win the game 59 – 54. Morgan Johnson led the way with 21 points while Taylor Reddick had 19. Matt Gallo cleaned up the boards with 7 rebounds.

Game #2 vs. Anderson S. S. from Whitby:
We had to wait around all day to play our second game at 9pm. The boys were pretty tired, but they found the energy to put in a strong performance. The team from Whitby was the 2011 and 2012 AAA OFSAA Champions, and the boys relished the opportunity to prove that they were also a top team. Our game plan was to slow the tempo of the game down, and not let Anderson get out and run. As a result, the game was a much lower scoring affair, with the score at half 17 – 10 for the Panthers. The boys stuck to the game plan in the third and continued to be very efficient with the ball, stretching the lead out to 33 – 19. In the 4th quarter, Anderson tried to press to get back in the game, but we had enough gas left in the tank to finish strong and win the game 47 – 32.

Game #3 vs. Sydenham S. S. from Sydenham:
The boys got home around 12:30 am and had to be back in Kingston for 9am. We were concerned that the short turnaround would hurt us facing a team that was well rested. We struggled offensively in the first half of the game, but our defence was solid and allowed us stay close. The game was back and forth and at the end of three quarters, we were down 28 – 27. Ernie and I knew that in order to be successful in these 5 game tournaments, we needed to use our bench. We ran all 12 guys in this game, and it paid off in the 4th quarter where we had a lot of energy and outscored Sydenham 22 – 8 to win the game 49 – 36. The boys were pumped up because all of a sudden this team that didn’t deserve to be in this tournament had advanced to the Final Four!

Semi-final vs. St. Theresa from Midland:
Facing one of the top teams in the tournament, we knew we had our hands full. Our guys were tired, and St. Theresa was one of the biggest teams we have played to date. Once again, we urged the boys to take care of the basketball and be patient. Unfortunately, we were over excited and took a few too many ill-advised shots in the first half. St. Theresa ran a very controlled motion offence and we found ourselves down 24 – 19 at half. Once again our defence was very good, and we felt confident going into the third quarter that we could climb back into the game. Early in the third quarter, after a made 3-pointer by the Titans, one of their players suffered an injury under the basket. The game was delayed nearly 30 minutes, and after that, our guys couldn’t get their legs back. We fought hard until the final buzzer, but it was too little too late. After the game, we only had 90 minutes to refuel and get ready for the Bronze medal game.

Bronze Medal vs. Senator O’Connor from Toronto:
Senator O’Connor was one of the team on our side of the bracket so we had watched them play a few times. They were athletic, extremely fast, and were fierce on the boards. In their previous games, they had averaged 65 pts/game. We knew that if we let it turn into a track meet, it would be over early on. Our guys were completely out of gas, but they dug deep and really battled hard. Unfortunately, the team from Toronto just kept running, and running and running and we didn’t have the legs. However, we were able to hold them to under 50 points, which was their lowest point total of the tournament.

“The boys used the lessons learned in this tournament to defeat Quinte Christian on Monday night 50 – 10,” said Garden. “Up next is one of the biggest games of the year on Monday Dec. 9th vs. Nicholson at home at 6:30 pm. Fans welcome.”


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In Panther Athletics at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute this week, the Jr. boys basketball team fought back from a six point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Quinte 37-36.

Meanwhile, more than 30 girls tried out for 14 spots on this year’s Jr. girls volleyball team.

See below for next week’s scheduled games. Fans invited or, follow the them on Twitter @PECI_Athletics


The PECI PANTHERS Junior Boys Volleyball team captured a silver medal at AA COSSA Nov. 12.

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