By Larry Moko
Two Hamilton Catholic teams have advanced to Saturday’s semifinals of the Silver Fox Invitational boys’ high school basketball tournament and a third narrowly missed doing the same thing.
The Bishop Tonnos Titans and the St. Thomas More Knights each won a pair of games Friday at the 16-team event being played at the Saltfleet District and Glendale gyms. Tonnos topped London’s A.B. Lucas Vikings, 73-72 in overtime, and the Saint Francis Phoenix of St. Catharines, 72-67, while More’s victories were over Oakville’s Iroquois Ridge Trailblazers, 58-47, and Toronto’s Oakwood Barons, 58-38.
Just coming up short was the Cathedral Gaels. Defending Silver Fox champions, the Gaels breezed past the St. Mary’s Knights of Sault Ste. Marie, 69-32, but then dropped a hard-fought 60-56 decision to Windsor’s Holy Names Knights.
Tonnos faces Holy Names while More takes on the Saltfleet Storm in 1 p.m. semifinals at Glendale, and Saltfleet District, respectively. That’s followed by a championship game at 8 p.m. at Saltfleet.
In the final game of the evening Friday, Cathedral held a one-point lead until Holy Names’ Da Marion Ennis drained a three-point basket from the corner with 11.2 seconds left. The Gaels then had a chance to tie the score but a close-range shot failed to drop.
“We missed a little layup with about eight seconds left,” Cathedral coach Luca Fortino said. “Unlucky. It was a good game. They’re a tough team.”
According to Fortino, the Gaels hurt themselves with turnovers and poor decision-making.
“Plain and simple we had too many turnovers and that was the determining factor in the game,” he said. “We’ve really got to take care of the ball better.”
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak in league and tournament play for the Gaels.
“We’re not upset with this loss. “We had a good day. We played really hard. We’re leaving with our heads held high.”
Cathedral got 16 points from Kibrom Kefte, 13 by Mike Decius and 10 from Ruben Kalonji.
In the opener, the top scorers for Cathedral were Kefte (17), Shamari Zion-Bell (14) and Decius (11).
This is the 50th edition of the Silver Fox.
Cathedral, under coach Jim Daly, made it to the final of that inaugural game in 1972, losing 74-47 to the Nelson Lords. Daly, incidentally, served as an assistant coach on the bench for the 2021 and 2022 OFSAA gold-medal winning Cathedral girls’ AAA basketball teams.
In the OT win by Tonnos, Nick Galli scored 27 points and teammate Ethan Petrie had 12. The Titans then got 17 points, by Galli, 13 by Darius Mullings and 10 by Luca Pasalic against the Phoenix.
More currently leads the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic standings with a 10-0 record.