DM gives Eden a scare
The Eden Flyers went into the 66th Annual Welland Tribune Basketball Tournament as one of the top contenders to win the championship bracket.
Those lofty expectations were in serious jeopardy Thursday night in quarter-final play at Notre Dame against the Denis Morris Reds. The Reds built a 34-16 second-quarter lead and went into halftime holding on to a surprising 34-20 lead.
It was at that point when Eden point guard Chad Thorpe took over. He loudly exhorted his teammates to play better before they got on the floor for the second half and then he backed up his words with his actions. Thorpe would finish with 15 points, including seven of his team’s final nine points down the stretch to help the Flyers escape with a 53-44 victory. He was fully deserving of his team’s player of the game award.
Eden head coach Jonathon Thorpe has come to expect nothing less from his son.
“He is an incredible leader and he is super vocal but it is one thing to be vocal and not back it up, but he backs it up every single play and there isn’t a play that he takes off,” he said. “If he is going to play like that, he can say whatever he wants to get his guys going.”
Like his teammates, Chad Thorpe struggled a bit in the first half but that didn’t detract from what he did in the second half.
“It wasn’t his best offensive half, that’s for sure, but we rely on him for so much more: his defensive intensity and his ballhandling,” Jonathon Thorpe said. “There are lots of things outside of scoring that he does for us but it took awhile to get his shot falling for him.”
Chad Thorpe’s message to his teammates at the start of the second half was simple.
“I told them that it’s never over. I believe that we are a good team and we have a great offence. It wasn’t going in for us in the first half so I told the boys to believe in themselves and to keep shooting. They were going to fall eventually.”
He made no excuses for his team’s start.
“We came out and thought that we could take this game a little bit easy. We didn’t come out with the right mental mindset but in the second half we came mentally prepared and we had a lot more energy. We were getting a lot more rebounds and putting a lot more energy into the game.”
Thorpe takes his leadership role seriously.
“I believe every team needs a verbal and physical leader and since I was young I have always been a natural leader,” he said. “I have taken on that role pretty well. I love these boys and I want to do whatever I can to help them win.”
Denis Morris head coach Wade Pychel was ecstatic with his team’s play Thursday, especially the first half.
“Shots were falling for us, the energy was high, the crowd was into it and the boys were fired up,” he said. “They knew they had a tall task ahead of them and for the first three and a half quarters we took it to the big guy today.
“I told them at the half that if it ended right now I would be the happiest coach in the world. Unfortunately there was another 16 minutes and Eden showed why they are a good program.”
The Reds missed too many shots and turned the ball over too much in the second half and saw Eden tie the game 38-38 going into the final quarter. The game was tied 43-43 with 5:54 remaining before the Flyers closed the game out with 10-1 run.
“They did something defensively that we couldn’t quite figure out and we struggled on offence a bit which led to turnovers,” Pychel said. “That stopped the momentum but we found it a little bit near the end of the fourth quarter but at that point it was a little too late.”
The Reds’ play in the game showed they have the makings of a good team.
“I have all the confidence in the world about this team,” he said. “We have played a lot of good teams really close and we have some good wins this year. I am really proud of them and I hope we continue like this in the second half of the year.”
Jonathon Thorpe gave the Reds credit for their performance.
“DM played an amazing game. Their defensive intensity and getting hands on balls and swiping things was fantastic and maybe the best active defence that we have seen in a long time,” he said. “Our guys were a little bit shell-shocked and not prepared for that level of intensity to start the game off. We are a little bruised and banged up too so I was rolling guys a little bit more than what I would do normally and relying on one or two guys a lot more. And then we got into some foul trouble. There was a bunch of things coming together that made it difficult for us.
Chad Thorpe impressed with DM’s play.
“Give credit where credit is due. They came out and played physical defence, they were very aggressive and they shot the lights out.”
In the end, Eden lived to play another day.
“We are going to put this game behind us because we really don’t want to think about it too much,” Chad Thorpe said. “We are going to come out mentally strong tomorrow.”
FLYERS 53 REDS 44
Mountainview Building Group Players of the Game: Eden’s Chad Thorpe and DM’s Cam Hastings.
For the Eden Flyers: Riley Stewart 16; Thorpe 15; Caleb Stewart 12; Kai Schatz 4; Edson Sanecki 2; Luke Midgley 2; and, Luke Johnson 2.
For the Denis Morris Reds: Hastings 14; Josh Kaufman 12; Michael Ukiomogbe 7; Nate Sansaet 6; Owen Millar 3; and, Max Barnowski 2.
REDCOATS 48 SPARTANS 37
Malcolm Perrin scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to power the Governor Simcoe Redcoats to a 48-37 comeback win over the Westlane Spartans Thursday in the consolation quarter-finals of the Trib tourney.
Perrin earned his second straight player of the game honours in helping the Redcoats win their first game of the year.
Also scoring for Simcoe were: Lochlan Belliveau 14; Anderson Blanchard 9; and, Robert Muir 6.
Scoring for Westlane were: Dylan Klassen 16; Aldin Prsic 8; Arnav Sharma 6; VQ Beals 3; . Marko Niezurawski 2; Teo del Mundo 1; and, Alex Darbyson 1.