Bulldogs serve notice
Churchill’s Ryan Benevento. PHOTO BY: BILL POTRECZ
Ryan Benevento and the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs wasted no time serving notice they mean business.
The Bulldogs dominated the Lakeshore Catholic Gators 66-38 Monday in one of eight opening-round games at The Standard High School Basketball Tournament.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 22-10 lead after one quarter and never looked back, leading from start to finish.
“We realized after our loss to Centennial (at the Cougars Tournament) that they were ahead of us so we wanted to go out and play as hard as we can and try and show teams what we can do in this tournament,” said Benevento, who poured in 15 points.
“My eyes are on the finals. I want to get there again.”
The Bulldogs, despite limited time to practice together with several players just finishing up the volleyball season, looked in mid-season form.
“We were running the offence well. We were passing the ball and we did a great job of intercepting the ball and putting pressure on the defence,” Benevento said. “We wanted to get out to that quick lead and keep putting pressure on the them and keep that lead the whole game.”
Benevento took home a silver with the Bulldogs from OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) in volleyball last week. He said the transition isn’t that big a deal.
“It’s more the stamina part because volleyball is a different type of energy. It’s about getting my cardio back up for the game but as far as energy and positivity goes, it’s the same momentum. If you’re up you can still put pressure on the team and if you’re down, it’s hard to get back up.”
Benevento is comfortable assuming a leadership role.
“I just try to keep the energy up and keep the players going and pushing hard. I just want to communicate and get the W.”
Benevento, a 17-year-old, Grade 12 student, is a favourite of SWC coach Gregg Loucks.
“I love Ryan, I’ve been coaching him since he was a little guy in travel and he’s a great leader,” Loucks said. “Fundamentally, he’s the strongest kid I have, by far. He’s a good quality guy who can shoot the lights out and get to the rim.
“I think Ryan is one of the better players in the league, for sure.”
Bulldogs 66 Gators 38
BPSN Star of the Game: Sir Winston’s Ryan Benevento with 15 points.
For the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs: Benevento 15; Asim Serri 20; Matt Johnston 8; Mo Esseri 7; Noah Garnace 4; Ahmed Mohammed 3; Chris Smith 3; Evan Christie 2; Matt Hyeun 2; Andres Sanchez 2.
For the Lakeshore Catholic Gators: Issac D’Amico 14; Allan Pambianco 13; Nic Qua 5; Eric Veldman 4; Chance Beauregard 2.
Cougars 66 Patriots 12
The No. 2 seed Welland Centennial Cougars had 12 players hit the scoresheet in an easy win over the Laura Secord Patriots.
Kennan Larmand paced the winners with 14 points while Reese Radobenko added nine and Malachi Abbott and Jacob Bray eight each. Justin Zacharuk added six while Jorden Brewster chipped in with five. Carl Paulemont and Tom Kim had four, Nick Yioldassis, Will Goodfellow, Jack Halliday and Tyler Dilts two each.
Devon Groves scored four for the Pats while Evan Craig and Kiefer Keen-Sonnenberg added three apiece and Joel Wall two.
Up next: The Bulldogs take on Holy Cross at 7:30 p.m. at Governor Simcoe. The Cougars square off versus E.L. Crossley at Eden at 7:30 p.m. On the consolation side, the Lakeshore Gators meet Ridley at 6 p.m. at Sir Winston while Laura Secord plays Eden at 6 p.m. at Eden.