By Larry Moko
High school basketball teams don’t necessarily need a “behemoth” under the basket to be successful at rebounding.
Take the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, for example.
The hustling Braves got the job done on the glass en route to a 59-50 victory over the visiting St. Thomas More Knights Tuesday.
The outcome improved Brebeuf’s Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association senior boys’ record to 2-0, while More slipped to 1-1. In other action, the Cathedral Gaels won for the second time in as many starts, 67-57, over the Bishop Tonnos Titans (0-2).
“We won that game because of all the offensive rebounds we got,” Brebeuf coach Jae Dunphy said. “We’re going to have to be a team-rebounding team. We don’t particularly have a behemoth in the middle.
“We play more of a pass and cut style. We don’t like to pound it in per se. Our spacing allows us to sneak in sometimes for rebounds.”
Dunphy said boxing out, of course, is essential on defence and the Braves can compete on the boards because they have “great leapers’ in Terrance Lennox, Cale Calura and Steven Lemay.
“It got infectious today on the offensive end,” he said.
More led 15-12 at the end of the first quarter and 25-21 at the intermission. But helped by an 8-0 third-quarter run, the Braves were ahead 43-39 heading into the fourth.
Calura, with 14 points, was the leading scorer for the Braves. Jacob Miraldo contributed 12, Lemay added 11, Daniel Graham added 10 and Lennox chipped in with nine.
For the Knights, Efosa Omorogbe tossed in 17 points. Diar Alkady netted 15 and JoJo Lingisi had six.
“We held them to 21 points in the first half,” More coach Mark Moretuzzo said. “But in the second half they brought it at a different level. We didn’t match the intensity. We were awful on the glass, both defensively and offensively. I can’t remember a rebound we got in the second half. That was the difference. They had nothing but put-backs. That hurt.”
With the score 56-50, Miraldo capped the scoring with three-point basket with 22 seconds remaining. Said Dunphy: “It was a bit of a no-no-yes shot. We were kind of hoping to pound the air out of the ball a little more and take some time off the clock. However, that’s (Miraldo’s) game. He’s a knock-down shooter from the outside. We think he’s capable of big things, especially on the offensive end.”
Brebeuf reached the final of the Redeemer Battle Royal tournament on the weekend before losing in overtime to Milton Jean Vanier.
“It was a big character-builder weekend for our guys,” Dunphy said. “We’re a young team. Three of our top six are in Grade 11.”
Moretuzzo said the Knights are looking forward to playing their first home game of the season later this week – More has gone 8-4 overall during 12 road games thus far at tournaments and in league play.
From Dec. 8-9, More will play host to the 39th-annual Chancellor Invitational tournament. Other entries are from Burlington Notre Dame, Niagara Falls St. Paul, London John Paul II, Oakville Loyola, Bishop Tonnos, Cambridge St. Benedict and Sarnia Northern. The championship goes Saturday, at 3 p.m.
Also scheduled for Friday and Saturday is the 9th-annual Mark Walton Invitational at Cathedral. Participating, along with the Gaels, will be Cardinal Newman, Oakville Aquinas, Hamilton Sir Allan MacNab, Markham St. Augustine, London Beal, Oakville Holy Trinity and Windsor Kennedy.
Tip-off for the final on Saturday is also at 3 p.m.
See game highlights at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaLWKojyS3 ...