Close call for Fighting Irish (updated)
Adam Ponting isn’t really a morning person, but you’d never know that based on his performance Friday.
The 15-year-old, Grade 10 student scored 17 points as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish dropped a close 67-64 decision to the Bishop Tonnos Titans at the 46th All Ontario Catholic Classic Basketball Tournament at Notre Dame.
Asked if he enjoyed early starts — the game began at 9:30 a.m. — Ponting was quick to respond.
“No, I don’t,” he said. “You just have to wake up early and try and get yourself going.”
Ponting certainly got himself going, particularly in the first quarter, where he netted eight points on four field goals.
But it was Ponting’s final shot, a last-second attempt from beyond the arc that would have tied the game, he was more focused on.
“You have to make it and I didn’t,” he said quietly.
Ponting did enjoy playing against the Titans, who hit 11 three-pointers en route to victory.
“It was really fun,” he said. “There were the four-seed so it’s always good playing the best competition.
“It was good we made it close.”
Notre Dame coach Cedric Kasongo feels the sky is the limit for Ponting.
“His potential is high,” Kasongo said. “He has a high ceiling. He’s a multi-sport athlete so whatever sport he decides, he can go anywhere with it.
“He’s a good kid.”
Ponting is following in the footsteps of older brother, Lucas Ponting, now playing basketball at Queen’s.
“It was great because you get to see what it’s like in those close games and get to watch,” Adam Ponting said, when asked for his memories of watching his older brother play at Notre Dame.
At some point, the younger Ponting will have to choose between basketball, where he also plays at the club level with Niagara United, and lacrosse, where he plays for the U17 squad in the Toronto Rock Elite League.
“I guess I’ll keep playing and see where I go, but I haven’t really figured out which one I want to keep playing.”
The Irish gave the Titans all they could handle, leading 25-20 after one quarter, 39-36 at the half and 56-50 heading into the fourth.
“I think our guys played pretty good, pretty tough for the most part for most of the game,” Kasongo said. “A couple of shots didn’t fall our way but that’s part of the game.”
Kasongo feels playing strong opposition will pay dividends down the road.
“They’re a really good shooting team, a younger team. Our strategy coming in was to be physical with them, try to contest their shots, and try to rebound because they have a good rebounding group and try and limit their threes
“It’s definitely going to help us. We need games like this to push us and challenge us and take us to the end like that and see what we have. I like the way our guys fought today. We didn’t come out with the win but I think they fought pretty hard.”
The Titans took a 65-64 lead with 55 seconds to play and then added another buck to go up 67-64 with 4.7 seconds to play, setting the stage for Ponting’s final shot which went in and out.
Titans 67 Irish 64
Bishop Tonnos Titans: Justus Dryden 21; Nick Galli 17; Luca Pasalic 11.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Adam Ponting 17; Kevin Schweyer 16; Owen Phillips 8; Trent Groulx 7; Andrew Benko 7; Rylan Lauder 5; Chris Ortiz 2; Nicholas Capretta 2.
Raiders 74 Irish 58
Afam Agbatekwe netted 18 as the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders defeated the Fighting Irish.
Mark Zayouna and Mateo Canizalez added 12 each for the Raiders.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Adam Ponting 17; Owen Phillips 15; Kevin Schweyer 9; Andrew Benko 7; Trent Groulx 6; Michael Ventresca 3; Rylan Lauder 2; Chris Ortiz 2.
Lancers 92 Patriots 45
Isiah Dunlop netted 20 points as the Ursuline College Lancers of Chatham topped the Saint Paul Catholic High School Patriots.
Jaxen Baker and Caleb Roberts added 15 each for the winners.
Saint Paul Patriots: Joey Primerano-Williams 9; Matthew Murray 8; Shomari Hill 8; Mateo Canakis 6; Dante De Benedetti 6; Isaac Jordan 4; Elijah Pappen 2; Daniel Szufranowicz 2.
Royals 72 Patriots 50
Denzel Johnson collected 17 points as the Bishop Reding Royals defaced the Patriots.
Josiah Luke chipped in with 15 and Kael Villa 11 for the Royals.
Saint Paul Patriots: Matthew Murray 14; Mateo Canakis 10; Isaac Jordan 9; Joey Primerano-Williams 4; Shomari Hill 3; Elijah Pappin 2.
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