Gryphons take consolation title
The Greater Fort Erie Gryphons defeated the Eden Flyers in the consolation final of The Standard High School Basketball Tournament Friday at the St. Catharines Collegiate. PHOTO BY: BERNIE PUCHALSKI
The Greater Fort Erie Gryphons finally have some hardware for their showcase.
The new school — an amalgamation of Fort Erie Secondary School and Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School — earned its first trophy with a 57-53 triumph over the Eden Flyers Friday night in the consolation-round final at The Standard High School Basketball Tournament.
Following the win, the team proudly posed with the trophy under the basket while proud parents and friends snapped away, taking pictures.
“We’re excited about it,” Fort Erie coach Dave Adamek said proudly. “Obviously it’s (trophy case) empty, so this is going in Monday.
“We were already talking about that, telling them this is the first trophy going in and they should feel pretty proud about that.”
Adamek said he couldn’t think of a better tournament for the Gryphons to make their mark.
“This is a great tournament and we’re always happy to be here,” he said. “They always do a great job and it’s exciting. The kids love it. They love the TV and the media — the whole deal.
“It’s a pretty special tournament.”
Even though they have only had a few weeks to practice and handful of games together, the Gryphons have come together very quickly.
“We’re a new team with the two schools amalgamating, but we tried to give it our best with a new group of guys,” Grade 11 guard Joel Coopman said.
Coopman, who poured in 12 points, said the group has meshed well.
“It was a rivalry between the schools originally, but we’re coming together nicely.”
Coopman missed Thursday’s 66-64 win with a sore throat and was thrilled he felt well enough to play in the final.
“It hurt to swallow,” he said. “It was really rough. It was bad.
“I wanted to go badly.”
The Gryphons appear to have a good nucleus heading forward.
“It’s our first year and we’re pretty young. Two of our starters are Grade 10s, two are 11s and one is in 12. It’s a young team and we’re going to be back,” Adamek said.
The Flyers gave the Gryphons all they could handle as the lead went back and forth — the game was tied after one quarter while the Flyers led by one at the half and the Gyphons by five after three quarters.
“We wanted to execute our offence and play some tough defence and, hopefully, come out with a win,” Coopman said.
Adamek tipped his cap to the Flyers.
“That was a great game. It seemed all week we had one of those games,” he said. “Coach (Brian) MacIsaac did a great job. He used his timeouts well and kept us on our toes.
“It was a fun game and a fun thing to be part of.”
MacIssac, who was behind the bench in 2010-11 when the Flyers captured their lone consolation title, was more than happy the way his team came together as the week went on.
“We just felt a little short, but you can see the progress,” he said. “Getting four games in was fantastic for us.
“We could have pulled it out, but we made enough mistakes and Fort Erie is well coached and have some great players. It was a great matchup.”
Gryphons 57 Flyers 53
BPSN Star of the Game: Gryphons guard Bailey Wangler with 10 points.
For the Greater Fort Erie Gryphons: Wangler 10; Ethan Van Natter 14; Joel Coopman 12; Austin Ladoceur 10; Donny Morgan 6; Johns 3.
For the Eden Flyers: Ryan Gilbert 16; Charlie Edgar 11; Micah Nieuwets 11; Ryan Ghosh 9; Josh Robins 6; Eddie Zhou 2.
By the quarters: The game was tied 14-14 after one. Eden led 24-23 at the half. Fort Erie led 41-35 after three.
From the floor: Fort Erie 20-for-50; Eden 21-for-48.