Flyers fly into finals
The Eden Flyers were missing their leading scorer Friday, so who better to pick up the slack than his twin brother?
With Riley Stewart on the bench nursing a knee injury suffered Thursday, Caleb Stewart came up a 23-point effort to lead the Flyers past the A.N. Myer Marauders 63-57 in a championship round semifinal game Friday at the 66th Annual Welland Tribune Basketball Tournament held at Notre Dame.
“I love playing with him,” Caleb said of his twin. “We just have this real connection that we know where each other are so it’s a lot different but hopefully he’ll be back soon.
“Our whole team had to step up with him gone. Guys were coming in and out trying to guard Mani (Maynard). We just threw everything at them.”
Caleb Stewart turned in a consistent effort with 12 points in the first half and 11 more in the second, including nine in the final quarter as the Marauders made a serious run at the Flyers and even took the lead briefly on a couple of occasions.
“Myer has always been a good basketball program so we just expected everything from them,” Caleb Stewart said. “We came out and gave them everything we had and just pulled through the whole game.”
Eden coach Jonathon Thorpe tipped his cap to Caleb Stewart, while being sure not to overlook a solid effort from the entire roster as well.
“Everybody stepped up,” Thorpe said. “Riley is usually our leading scorer so we did all that without the guy who was our biggest offensive threat most games.
“Caleb stepped up and played awesome. He definitely filled in a lot of that void with Riley out.”
Caleb Stewart said he enjoyed the final few minutes of pressure-packed action that saw him net a key bucket with just over two minutes to play and then nail three of four clutch free throws.
“It was very fun. When you work all game to get down to those final minutes, it’s very rewarding to have that outcome,” he said.
Thorpe said despite an early lead, he knew the Marauders weren’t going to go away easily.
“A team that’s as good as that, they’re obviously going to make a run,” he said. “They’re not going to roll over on you. It was to be expected.
“There was never a point where our guys got frazzled about it. Just keep calm and keep doing what we’re supposed to be doing and things will go our way eventually.”
Myer coach Tyler Thomson gave credit to the Flyers for the domination on the boards.
“I think they beat us inside,” he said. “They absolutely killed us in the paint. We put in the work and we tried to box out but at the end of the day just their height and their willingness to get those rebounds really hurt us at those second-chance points.”
Overall, Thomson said his club got a lot out of their three games at the tournament.
“It really was a lot of fun — a little bit stressful I guess — but just having back-to-back games with good competition, those are the best games for our team,” he said.
The Flyers now take on the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs in a rematch of the finals of the Standard Tournament won by the Bulldogs.
“With that loss in The Standard we’re looking to have a successful day tomorrow,” Caleb Stewart said.
Thorpe is looking forward to another shot at a title.
“I’m just happy for the guys that they get to play in another championship game and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Thorpe was unsure of the availability of Riley Stewart for Friday’s game.
“We’re going to have to discuss that. We’re not sure about that just yet,” he said.
FLYERS 63 MARAUDERS 57
Mountainview Building Group Players of the Game: Eden’s Caleb Stewart and Myer’s Mani Maynard.
For the Eden Flyers: Caleb Stewart 23; Chad Thorpe 15; Luke Johnson 13; Graham Midgley 9; Luke Midgley 3.
For the A.N. Myer Marauders: Mani Maynard 24; Sahil Rizwan 12; Adam Abboud 8; Jayke Arnold 4; Benson Angervil 3; Milos Krkljus 3; Louis Pullano 2; Tavish McMahon 1.
Up next: The Flyers and Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs meet at 7 p.m. Saturday for the championship.
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