Bulldogs, Cyclone move on to championship semifinals
Sir Winston Churchill boys basketball coach Marty Cook can’t say enough good things about Brady Pupek.
“He is the best all-around player I have ever coached,” he said Tuesday, following Churchill’s 75-43 victory over the Ridley College Tigers in the championship quarter-finals of the 59th Annual Standard Kully’s Boys High School Basketball Tournament. “He can shoot, he can score, he can defend, he can rebound, he has a nose for the ball that you can’t teach and he is the best athlete in any gym that he steps into. He’s a great team leader and he is a great inspiration to his teammates.”
Pupek had 13 points in the win Tuesday but the Grade 12 student wanted to talk the most about an impressive dunk he had in the fourth quarter.
“In the previous three games I missed dunks so I got clowned a little bit. But I love it.”
He also loves his first-ever taste of the Standard tourney.
“We missed it last year and it is just great to be out here playing with these guys. It’s a great group.”
The Newman Youth travel basketball player had yet to decide which sport he wants to play at the next level. His play on the football field has attracted interest from Ontario University Athletics scouts.
“That’s a good question. I love basketball and I loved playing football with the guys too and my love for the game built out from the start of the season. Only time will tell.”
Equally as impressive as Pupek’s dunk Tuesday was the way he protected his team’s rim. He had a number of blocks and altered a handful of shots. He takes a lot of pride in his defence.
“A lot of people like to score but defence wins games and rim protection is part of it.”
Churchill went undefeated last season but never got a chance to go to OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations). Pupek is looking forward to going far next spring.
“Especially the seniors, that is all we want.”
Churchill won comfortably Tuesday but there were some anxious moments.
“Ridley came out pretty strong and definitely put a scare into us in the first half,” Cook said. “But we had to be patient and trust in our system. I did get an opportunity to throw in a few different players than normal and they did great. Our depth was definitely a factor and eventually we wore them down with the amount of players we can put out there.”
The Bulldogs came into the Standard tournament on a roll having won the Saltfleet tournament on the weekend.
“We beat three really strong triple A teams, Garth Webb from Oakville, Satfleet from Stoney Creek and Sarnia Northern,” he said
Ridley head coach Josh Doan ‘loved’ playing in the championship quarter-finals.
“That is the team I wanted to play. If we did anything in the tournament, I wanted to play them,” he said. “It shows my guys where we want to be. We want to keep that mindset.”
The Tigers looked good early.
“We hung with them in the first half but they hit a lot of threes. They execute well and they are unbelievably well-coached,” he said. “My guys got to see it for two hours so it gives them a lot to go forward with.”
The Tigers were overwhelmed by Churchill’s depth.
“In our league, if you take one or two guys away you are OK. You can’t take eight or nine guys away,” Doan said. “There is nothing we could do because we are not proficient enough to defend at that level. But I got Grade 9s and 10s and they played so well. I am very proud of them.”
Ridley loved being back in the Standard tourney.
“This is my favourite week of the year. I am so glad that we are back and we ant to keep doing it with no more interruptions,” he said.
Bulldogs 75 Tigers 43
Kully’s/Regatta Sports Players of the Game: Churchill’s Brady Pupek and Ridley’s Thomas Vaillencourt.
For the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs: Mazen Yagubi 20, Mujeeb Omar 15, Brady Pupek 13, Bennett Pisek 6, Jaxon Beaman 5, Sawyer Neufeld 3, Matteo Scaglione 3, Owen Cuthbert 2 and Brandon Plachy 2.
For the Ridley College Tigers: Thomas Vaillencourt 14, Josh Onwuama 9, Jude Mbariiza 7, Isaac Gonda 6 and Nick Nymbilli 3.
CYCLONE 63 THUNDER 48
Aakash Senhtil scored 17 points Tuesday to power the E.L.Crossley Cyclone to 63-48 victory over the Blessed Trinity Thunder in the Standard championships semifinals.
Also scoring for the Cyclone were Sam Jeffery 12, Jackson Kalybaba 11, Matthew Kleinsmith 10, Luca Burattini 6, Connor Bleich 4 and Connor Lacroix 3.
Replying for the Thunder were Michael Akinpetide 23, Tre’von Higgins 4, Nicholas Kolenko 4, Mateo Villella, Luc DiFlavio 3, Lucious Dungey 3, Mawana Chidovi 3, Caleb Olomide 2 and Samuel Gatto 1.