6:30 a.m., March 1)
Lester B. Panthers win junior boys Tier 1 hoops championship
Luis Puente scored a game high 23 points in
the Lester B. Panthers 56-53 win over the
Merivale Marauders in the NCSSAA junior boys
Tier 1 basketball championship on Thursday.
Lester B. Pearson Panthers outhustled and outlasted the
Merivale Marauders to win the NCSSAA junior boys Tier
1 basketball championship on Thursday and finish the season
with a perfect 13-0 record.
two evenly matched teams spent the first quarter feeling
each other out and by the end of the first eight minutes
the score was tied 9-9.
second quarter was a lot more high scoring as the two
teams combined for 35 points, including six three-point
bombs, but by the end of the first half the two teams
were separated by just a point with Merivale on top.
third stanza was almost an instant replay of the second
quarter, only it was the Panthers who outscored the Marauders
18-17 and with one quarter left to play the score was
all tied up 44-44.
fourth quarter developed into a titanic defensive battle
as neither team was willing to give the other anyntime
or space to get off a decent shot. After two minutes the
score was still tied 46-46.
Kabeya hit a jump shot to put the Panthers up by two with
four minutes left to go in the game, but the Marauders
responded with a basket of their own to tie the game yet
the score knotted at 48-48, Luis Puente hit another three-point
shot and the Panthers forced a turnover on the Marauders
ensuing possession which Kabeya quickly converted into
an easy layup, and just like that, Lester B. was up by
pesky Maruaders responded yet again, however, with Umed
Hyder sinking his third three point bucket of the game
and Su Pu Plet draining a pair of free throws to tie the
score at 53 points apiece.
the final minute ticked down, Devon McDonald made a huge
offensive rebound and scored a basket to put the Panthers
up for good. Puente added a free throw with nine seconds
left, forcing the Marauders to throw up a desperation
shot in the final seconds which caught nothing but air.
win was even more impressive given the fact that all but
three of the Panthers are in Grade 9 and they were playing
in front of about 50 or 60 raucus Marauder fans in the
Merivale High School gym.
head coach Dan Stern said the Marauders gave his squad
all they could handle and then some.
never been part of something so exciting in my life. Both
teams played their hearts out," said Stern. "Fortunately
we've been in a couple of situations where the score was
close let in the game and we learned from those experiences.
led all scorers with a game high 23 points. Kabeya added
15, including three three-point shots, McDonald had 10
points and Jordan Corcoran had six.
Puente and Kabeya are in Grade 9, which means they will
be back to try and defend their title next year.
says the two players pushed each other all season and
will likely continue to do so for the next four years.
they stick with it they should do a lot of special things
at Lester B.," said Stern.
players said they had trouble getting in the paint against
the Marauders collapsing defence, but they made up for
it by hitting their outside shots.
I was feeling it. I was a bit nervous at first, but Muhammed
helped get me into the game and started hitting my shots,"
Puente said after the game.
The Lester B. Pearson Panthers pose for a
photo with the championship trophy after winning
the junior boys high school basketball championship
on Thursday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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