Raiders’ rebounder comes up big
Holy Cross’ Owen Bradford-Andrew is not going to wow anyone with his scoring exploits on the basketball court.
But where the 6-foot-2 forward shines is on the glass and the Grade 11 student was truly the chairman of the boards Friday at Notre Dame against the Saint-Jean-de-Brefeuf Lynx in the consolation semifinals at the 66th Annual Welland Tribune Basketball Tournament.
The 16-year-old scored only two points but he pulled down an astounding 20 offensive rebounds to lead the Raiders 40-33 victory and a berth in the consolation finals against the Saint Paul Patriots.
“He’s our big man. He is a good kid, he is goofy, he is a light-hearted guy and he provides great energy to the team,” Holy Cross coach Austin Anderson said. “I don’t think we could win a lot of games without his presence inside.
“We’re not the tallest team and he’s not the tallest big man but he pretty much out-rebounds every team that we play.”
There’s no secret to his rebounding prowess.
“It’s his energy. If the ball goes up, he wants to grab it. It is as simple as that. If it is on the floor or in the air, he grabs it for us,” Anderson said.
Bradford-Andrew does not play travel basketball and only picked up the sport last season.
“I tried out for the junior team and made it. And I loved it,” he said. “Everyone said I was tall so I should just go play basketball. I worked hard, got into starting and it has all gone from there.”
He knows his role on the team.
“I’m not a scorer, that’s for sure, so it is mostly just rebounding. I get the rebounds and give the ball to the people who can shoot. That all I do.”
He gets rebounds with his desire.
“I am not the tallest but it’s just going up and grabbing it strong.”
Bradford-Andrew is hoping to eventually add an offensive component to his game.
“We have been working on shooting and everything but I don’t know yet. We need to work on getting more points.”
Anderson was happy with the win.
“I think we started off a little slow and it was probably the least active we have been on defence all season long. Usually our calling card is our defence and I think we just we weren’t there today. I don’t know what it was. Maybe we underestimated the team we were playing against and it is definitely something we need to clean up before tomorrow’s final.”
Anderson is excited the Raiders are in another consolation final after also making the final game at the Standard tournament.
“The boys deserve it because they are working hard,” he said. “We are missing our head coach right now but hopefully we can make up for the loss in the Standard.”
Bradford-Andrew feels his team learned something from the Standard loss.
“We have to start a little stronger than we did. The last consolation final we didn’t start off well. We have to play aggressively and try to take it.”
Brebeuf coach Eric Labonte could only wonder what could have been after Friday’s loss.
“They executed our plays and our offensive systems really well but we just didn’t finish,” he said. “We missed layups and easy shots and if two or three of those baskets go in, it’s either a tie game or we could have won. I felt we were right there.”
Labonte has no complaints about his squad’s effort.
“I have a great bunch of guys and they are phenomenal athletes. Not many play the sport and having maybe one practice a week it doesn’t give me a chance to develop them that well,” he said. “But they have great heart and they play with determination. We played Eden the other night and we were losing by 60 points and the drive was still there on the court.”
RAIDERS 40 LYNX 33
Mountainview Building Group Players of the Game: Holy Cross’ Owen Bradford-Andrew and Brebeuf’s Daniel Charest..
For the Holy Cross Raiders: Dwayne Osbourne 9; Lucas Muon 7; Josh Delladonne 6; Terrell Wallace 6; Arin Sayegh 5; Greg Wenglowski 3; Owen Corcoran 2; and, Bradford-Andrew 2;
For the Saint-Jean-de-Brefeuf Lynx: Daniel Charest 23; Brydon Tshowa-M’Baya 4; Arthur Bélanger 4; and, Adian Astudillo 2;