Ali powers Bulldogs to Trib consolation
Sir Winston Churchill rode its Grade 11 scorers to a berth in the consolation finals of the 65th Annual Welland Tribune Basketball Tournament.
Forward Alexien Evseyev netted 20 points Friday and point guard Yaseen Ali ran the offence and poured in a game-high 23 points to spark the Bulldogs to a 63-50 victory over the Saint Michael Mustangs.
“He (Ali) is very athletic, he has a really nice shot and he has been doing really well,” Churchill head coach Gregg Loucks said. “He didn’t play all that well in the Standard tournament but since then he has been one of our best players.”
The 16-years-old feels things have gone quite well in his first year of playing at the senior level.
“At the beginning of the season, it was kind of rocky for me adjusting to senior with the intensity and the game speed but now I have gotten used to it and I think I am doing much better.”
The 5-foot-11 player can shoot and pass on offence, but prefers getting into the tough areas of the floor.
“I like driving, getting past my defender and creating contact to get an and one (three-point play) or two free throws.”
Ali played travel ball last year with the Pelham Panthers but isn’t playing away from school this season. He didn’t feel like attending tryouts and that has turned out to be a bad decision.
“I really miss it a lot,” he said.
He is getting his hoops kicks with an improving Churchill squad.
“I think our team is moving along well,” Ali said. “We are a small team but we still rebound and play strong on both offence and defence,” he said. “I am hoping we will play well at the end of the regular season and the playoffs.”
Saint Michael’s cut the lead to 55-50 late in the third quarter and then missed a three-pointer to cut the lead to two. The Bulldogs then put the game away with eight straight points.
“Watching them in warmups, I knew exactly what we were getting into,” Saint Mike’s coach Keith Bomberry said. “I knew that they could shoot and they have a couple athletic guys and it was going to be a close game.”
The game was decided in a typical way.
“It just came down to a couple of shots at the end,” Bomberry said. “They were able to hit them and congratulations to Churchill.
“They made some big baskets when it counted and our guys couldn’t find the mesh in the fourth quarter.”
Loucks was happy with his team’s performance.
“We have really been struggling with turnovers and not taking care of the ball but they controlled it a little bit better and we hit a couple of long shots that we haven’t been hitting lately.
“It was a great game for us and defensively we did really well except for a few kick-out threes.”
BULLDOGS 63 MUSTANGS 50
Mountainview Players of the Game: Churchill’s Yaseen Ali and Saint Michael’s Adrian Pasternak
For the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs: Ali 23; Alexien Evseyev 20; Nate Butler 9; Nick Beaudoin 5; Barin Alp 3; Connor Johnson 3.
For the Saint Michael Mustangs: Andrew Cricenti 13; Marben Mateo 9; Adrian Pasternak 9; Jomer Mateo 7; Davis Alex 6; Ben Lockhart 4; Cody Madden 2.