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Senior Boys Basketball
Garneau overcomes slow start to win senior Tier 1 hoops crown

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Seniors Steven Gaffney (1) and Eric Saumure (3) hoist the championship trophy into the air after the Garneau Gaulois defeated the Bell Bruins in the senior boys Tier 1 final on Wednesday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Two weeks after winning the Ontario francophone high school basketball championship, the Garneau Gaulois added the NCSSAA senior boys Tier 1 title to their list of accomplishments on Wednesday in a come from behind blowout win againt the Bell Bruins.

The Galuois spotted the Bruins an 11 point lead in the opening minutes of the first quarter before storming back with an 18-6 run to turn the tide on their west end opponents.

With momentum on their side, Garneau extended their lead to eight points by the end of the second stanza thanks in large part to the three-point shot-making of Steve Nkusi, who drained four shots from beyond the arc in the first half, and Khadeem Pierre who added 10 points.

The third quarter began with more of the same as Garneau went on an 10-2 run to take a commanding 16-point lead. They would extend their advantage to 21 points midway through the fourth quarter before crusing to a 68-53 win.

Bell was their own worst enemy in the pivotal third stanza, attempting ill-advised cross court passses that were easily intercepted by the Gaulois, or throwing up hgh percentage shots that either clanged off the rim or missed the basket entirely. Meanwhile, Garneau continued to use speed and ball movement to run the Bruins ragged.

Nkusi would end the game with 28 points, including six three point shots; Pierre scored 15 points; Eric Saumure had 12 points; and Steven Gaffney added nine.

The core of the team have been playing together since Grade 9 with the sole purpose of winning a city championship in their senior year. Winning the provincial francophone high school championship was an added bonus.

Head coach Alexandre Boily has been on the same quest ever since he took over the team in 2009.

"I've been coaching half these guys since Grade 9," Boily said after the game with obvious pride.

Before Wednesday's result, Garneau had not won a senior boys high school basketball championship since 2005.

Boily chalked the win up to his team's intensity and desire to take the game to the Bruins rather than allow the Bruins to dictate the game on their terms.

"We used quick ball movement and half court pressure to force some turnovers and once we got a solid lead we just kept pushing and pushing. It was a good team effort all around," said Boily.

Members of the Garneau Gaulois pose for team picture after winning the NCSSAA senior boys Tier 1 basketball championship. Team roster: Steven Gaffney, Eric Saumure, Khadeem Pierre, Steve Nkusi, Dimitry Gracia, Corey Griecken, Simon Lemay, Phil Lemay, Alex Gauthier and Ralph G.

(Posted:2:30 a.m., Feb. 27)

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