Flyers end Patriots’ Cinderella run
The Eden Flyers made sure they were ready for the Laura Second Patriots when the two teams met Monday in the Niagara Region High School Athletic Association Zone 4 AA senior boys basketball final.
Eden built quarter leads of 12-2, 29-7 and 51-18 en route to a convincing 63-28 victory that erased all memories of a 58-56 regular-season loss to Laura Secord on Jan. 13.
“There was no taking them lightly today,” Eden head coach Jonathon Thorpe said. “No excuses on the first game. They played a great game the first time we played them and they deserved what they got but the guys were fired up to show that that shouldn’t have happened.
“I think Secord showing up with a lot of fans got our guys even more riled up and they decided to take care of business.”
Eden, which defeated Grimsby 67-48 in semifinals, did just that in impressive fashion.
“Our defensive intensity was off the charts, especially in the first half,” Thorpe said. “They were stuck on two points for a long time and I think that was the biggest thing. And then we just kept the intensity at that level.”
The Flyers will need more of the same at the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association AA semifinals Thursday at E.L. Crossley.
“There’s a lot of good teams but, you know what, that’s why we play because you never know what is going to happen,” Thorpe said.
Making it happen for the Flyers Monday was Grade 12 guard Luke Reinaerts, who poured in 17 of his game-high 21 points in the first half.
“Luke had a great game and he always works hard for us,” Thorpe said. “He shot the ball well today, his defensive intensity is always there, he’s smart with the ball, he pushes the ball up the floor and he trusts his teammates.”
The six footer wasn’t taking anything for granted against the Patriots.
“They beat us the last time, they are a great team so we came out and we wanted to work hard, play our game and have better intensity than we did the last time we played them,” Reinaerts said. “I’m not sure we took them lightly the first time because they came out, played really well and their fans got them into it.
“This time, we worked a lot harder and didn’t underestimate them.”
The Grade 12 student, who has no plans to return for 12B, is cherishing his final games in an Eden uniform.
“It has been a great four years and I don’t think there is any pressure,” he said. “I just want to go out, have fun and play the best basketball games that I can for my teammates.”
He has enjoyed his time at Eden.
“I like the teamwork aspect of it and being able to grow as a team rather than playing as an individual and for myself,” he said. “It’s a team sport.”
Reinaerts is a much better player compared to when he first arrived at Eden.
“In Grade 9, I wasn’t very confident in my abilities and now I am a lot more confident,” he said. “I have worked hard on my game because I wanted to improve my offence and my defence.”
Laura Secord, which advanced to the final by defeating the Thorold Golden Eagles 50-47 in the semifinals, seemed nervous right from the start against the Flyers and couldn’t convert on a number of good looks at the basket.
“We lost our composure a little bit and patience on offence was a problem,” Secord head coach Tim Jabs said. “And then we were playing catch-up the whole time. It’s hard to play catch-up and come from behind when the other team is being patient and you are rushing everything and shots are clanking off the glass.”
Jabs is looking forward to building on what was a highly successful season for the Patriots.
“We will be back and we will be ready,” he said.
The Patriots will only lose three players to graduation and Jabs will be looking for bigger and better results in 2021.
“I want to win a championship and I am ready to win now,” he said. “I wanted to win today.”
Flyers 63 Patriots 28
Mick and Angelo’s/Johnny Rocco’s/Cracker Jack’s Player of the Game: Eden’s Luke Reinaerts with 21 points, including 17 in the first half.
For the Eden Flyers: Reinaerts 21; Trent Thorpe 17; Wes Hanlin 6; Dylan Rivett 4; Winston Doppenberg 4; Kyle Mulder 4; Carter McMaster 3; Ethan Maroudas 2; Dylan Bryan 2.
For the Laura Secord Patriots: Eljay Johnson 7; Vardo Johnson 5; Deondre Beaufort 4; David Armstrong 4; Colby Capra 4; Ayden Ross 2; Oneich Samuels 2.
Up next: Eden advances to the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association AA semifinals Thursday at E.L. Crossley.