Gaels Roar Back with 88-72 Win Over Titans

Gaels Roar Back with 88-72 Win Over Titans
Posted on 01/25/2024

By Larry Moko

It was a "bounce back" game for the Cathedral Gaels.

After being eliminated in the semifinal round of the Silver Fox high school basketball tournament Saturday, then suffering their first regular-season loss Tuesday against the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals, the Gaels' spirits needed a lift.

And they got it Thursday with an 88-72 victory over the visiting Bishop Tonnos Titans.

That result improved first-place Cathedral's Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic record to 10-1 and dropped third-place Tonnos to 7-4.
"This was a really good game to keep our hopes up," said guard Josh Granger-Bigford who poured in 31 points for Cathedral. "Smiles all around."

The Gaels' hunt for the Silver Fox title in Hamilton ended when they were edged in overtime by Ursuline College.

"It's not that it was a disappointment," Cathedral coach Luca Fortino said. "We had the No. 2 team from last year's OFSAA (provincial championships) on the ropes. We were up by seven points with a minute and a half left ... which we let slip out of our hands.

"Overall, we went 3-0 and easily could have gone 4-0."

Three days later, Cathedral dropped a 45-40 decision to the defending Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league champions from Newman.

"We had no energy after the weekend at the Silver Fox," Fortino said. "We had to show that it was just a one off. This was a bounce back game. We played well after a really slow game on Tuesday."

Granger-Bigford agreed: "It was an exhausting weekend," he said.

Cathedral raced to a 35-19 first-quarter lead against the Titans. At the half, the Gaels were ahead 53-31 and at the three-quarter mark they enjoyed a 69-56 advantage. Twice in the fourth quarter, though, the Titans cut the margin to 10 points.

Cathedral's other top scorers were Jaden Lubin, with 15 points, Kaiden King-Stewart, with 12, and Jaden Campbell, with 11.
For the Titans -- they also participated in the Silver Fox after making the final there last year -- their high scorer was Ethan Saleh (22). Darius Mullings added 14 points, Jacob Walker contributed nine and Jason Drysdale scored eight points.

Fortino said Grade 11 student Granger-Bigford is versatile and a key member of the team.

"Josh does a little bit of everything," he said. "He's a good defensive player and he can score the ball from outside or at the rim. He's becoming more unselfish, too."

In addition to draining six shots from behind the arc, Granger-Bigford also dished out five assists.

"I want to take basketball as far as I can," said Granger-Bigford who says his highest point total in a game was 47 two years ago for the Blitz organization.

Granger-Bigford and King-Stewart were each second-team all-star selections at the Silver Fox.

Other league action Thursday saw the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves top the ACMT Jaguars, 62,47, the Cardinals down the St. Thomas More Knights, 65-45, and the Bishop Ryan Celtics defeat the St. Mary Crusaders, 65-45.

Photos by Bob Butrym, RFB Sport Photography

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