St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves Face Tough Challenge

St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves Face Tough Challenge in OFSAA
Posted on 03/04/2024

By Larry Moko

Toronto’s Oakwood Barons earned the respect of the fans and the St. Jean de Brébeuf Braves during Day 1 of the OFSAA boys’ basketball tournament.

Oakwood entered the contest at Saltfleet District High School gym as the No. 1 seed and the province’s defending AAA champion.
The Barons’ history also includes OFSAA titles in 2014, 2010 and 1993.

Early on, it appeared Brébeuf was in awe of Oakwood because the Barons poured in the game’s first 18 points. The Barons led 20-2, 40-15 and 54-31 at the quarter breaks en route to a 68-43 victory.

Up next for 11-seeded Brébeuf at the 18-team three-day competition is a match-up Tuesday morning against the St. Marcellinus Spirit (6) of Mississauga.

“We definitely had some nerves at the beginning,” coach Jae Dunphy of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic champion Braves said. “We missed a couple of bunnies.

“That’s the No. 1 team for a reason. They returned four starters from last year’s gold medal team who are now Grade 12+. You could see that experience in how they played and in the tempo that they were able to impose on us.”

Malko Young paced Oakwood’s attack with 16 points. Timothy Morant and Victorie Ndongo netted 15 and 13 points, respectively, while Osayiuwa Omoregie chipped in with 10.

For Brébeuf, which qualified by way of a pair of Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference playoff wins, Kevahn Taylor scored 11 points. Omaree Francis (10) Ryan Mpiana (8) Raef Calura (6) Keen Fleming (3) Joey Nsenda (3) and Alessio DiGregorio (2) also figured in the Braves’ scoring.

“We started off very flat,” Calura said. “But for sure they’re a good team.”

Oakwood limited Brébeuf’s access to the rim and the Barons allowed few second-shot opportunities.
“They did a great job of boxing us out,” Calura added.

While the Braves were out-rebounded, Nsenda did manage to excite a bleacher full of maroon-coloured Brébeuf fans behind the basket with three dynamic shot blocks.

It also should be noted that Brébeuf gradually found its stride as the game progressed. In the second half, each team scored 28 points.
“Once the ball went through the net a few times our courage returned,” Dunphy said.

Calura, one of Brébeuf’s senior guards, summed up the team’s performance: “It’s obviously upsetting that we lost our first game. But it helps a lot knowing that we slowly came together.”

Dunphy says Brébeuf’s next opponent – St. Marcellinus – should also be tough. They were dominant in a 76-43 decision over Sudbury’s Lasalle Lancers.

“I watched some of their game,” he said. “That’s a team that plays with a sense of urgency. They have a lot of different weapons. We’re going to have to really get together and come out with a better intensity off the get-go.”

The tournament is being held at the Glendale and Saltfleet District gyms.

Other opening-day scores: Dr. G.W. Williams 67 Cameron Heights 55, St. Michaels 69 Ajax 46, Saltfleet 83 St. Peter 55, Eden 72 Holy Names 61, Father Henry Carr 66 Richview 44, A. B. Lucas 63 Glebe 57, Cameron Heights 62 Ajax 47, Bradford 52 Frontenac 42, Lasalle 53 St. Peter 48.

Photos by Bob Butrym. RFB Sport Photography

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