Patriots top Raiders in senior basketball action
Arin Sayeigh is loving his return to the basketball court.
“It feels great,” the Grade 11 student at Holy Cross said, after scoring 10 points Wednesday in 57-46 loss to the visiting Saint Paul Patriots.
“The whole Grade 10 year I was missing this and I went to the gym every day to practice. I really missed my teammates and my coaches.”
The practice helped him mentally and physically get through last year’s lost basketball season due to COVID.
“I gained a lot of weight at one point and I ended up losing 45 pounds.”
The 16-year-old’s motivation to get back in shape was simple.
“I dedicated myself to making this team so I went on a diet and started going to World Gym as well,” the 6-foot-2 forward said.
Holy Cross head coach Randy Conlon can’t say enough good things about Sayeigh, who plays a lot of post for the Raiders even though his size doesn’t suit that role.
“He is playing out of position but he plays hard and he is always smiling. He is truly a ‘Yes coach’ kid and he listens.”
Conlon would like to see Sayeigh not get down on himself so much and the player agrees with that assessment.
“When I make a mistake it gets to me but today when I made a mistake I came down the next time and hit a three,” he said. “That got me back up and I hit two more right after that.”
Sayeigh is looking forward to a good season with the Raiders.
“I am going play my hardest every day and help this team go as far it can,” he said. “I have to do what my coach tells me and play together with my teammates.”
The Raiders fell to 0-3 on the season with the loss but Conlon likes how his team is trending.
“I love these kids. They work so hard,” he said. “You have known me for a long time and I am not an excuse maker but we haven’t had a lot of gym time and that is probably the same for everybody.”
He is seeing steady improvement.
“We lost to DM (Denis Morris) by 25 the first time and then we lost by 10 to them the next time,” he said. “Our kids play hard and what else can you ask for as a coach. They make some mental mistakes but they play hard and they don’t quit.”
The Patriots didn’t quit either. They trailed 13-12 after one quarter but led 28-24 at the half and 42-33 after three quarters.
“It was a pretty scrappy game. There were too many turnovers on both sides and I think our pressure turned the tide. We scored a few baskets off of it and that was the difference.” Saint Paul head coach Colin McLeod said. “Otherwise it was a pretty even game.”
The Patriots improved to 2-1 in league play with the victory.
“We had a rough start against Notre Dame and we don’t have a lot of basketball experience,” McLeod said. “Like most schools, we have lost two years of basketball to COVID and as a result we are still trying to figure things out and minimize our mistakes.
“We have a ways to go with that but it is a really good group of kids. They all work hard and they all show up to practice.”
Patriots 57 Raiders 46
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Saint Paul’s Elijah Pappin with 14 points and a strong game on the glass.
For the Saint Paul Patriots: Elijah Pappin 14; Nathan Sanchez 12; Mateo Canakis 8; Javier Lewis 7; Joey Primerano-Williams 7; Davion Gordon 5; Dante De Benedetti 2; Adrine Szopinski 2.
For the Holy Cross Raiders: Arin Sayeigh 10; Pawel Waszak 9; Jake Bechard 8; Dwayne Osborne 7; Lucas Muon 7; Greg Wenglowski 5
Up next: The Raiders host Saint Francis Monday at 4:30 p.m. and the Patriots are at Denis Morris Monday at 3 p.m.