Ridley upsets DM at BPSN tourney: Crossley, Churchill, St. Francis advance
Ridley College’s Jude Mbaziira showed a flair for the dramatic Monday on the opening day of the BPSN Best of Niagara Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Grade 9 player hit a three-point shot with 7.1 seconds in the game to lift the Tigers ton an upset 49-48 victory over the Denis Morris Reds in first-round action at Denis Morris.
“I was so happy I hit that. I have been practising my shot and I know I have a good shot so I decided I was just going to take it,” the 14-year-old St. Catharines native said. “I saw my teammates calling for the ball but if I had a chance I was going to shoot it. It went in thankfully and it won the game.”
He had no idea how much time was left when he shot the ball.
“His shooting will need to improve as he gets older but he saved one for the end when we needed it,” Ridley College head coach Josh Doan said. “I am happy for him and it is a great moment for him with all his friends here.”
He loves what Mbaziira brings to the court.
“He’s cool under pressure, the game is never too big for him and he doesn’t make a ton of mistakes for his age,” Doan said. “He is a great basketball player and you are going to hear his name as he grows older. He is a gym rat and you can’t get him out of the gym. He is in there 24/7.”
Doan has already seen Mbaziira display leadership qualities.
“He is going to have a long career with us and I would think he is probably going to be on the (Ridley) prep team sooner or later. We are happy to have him in our program right now.”
Mbaziira is working hard on his game.
“Every day before school I am working on my shot. I get up at 6 and I am at the school before 7 and then I usually stay in the gym after school until 7,” he said. “I repeat that every day because I have big basketball dreams. I really want to make the league (NBA) so I have to work hard for it.”
He is hoping to make the Ridley prep squad by next year and then head to the States to play prep basketball in Grade 11. In addition to Ridley, he plays for the Niagara Falls Red Raiders and the Burloak Elite AAU squad.
Ridley trailed by double digits in the second half of Monday’s game before rallying for the victory.
“We are a young team that hasn’t played in two and a half weeks and I am proud of them. As a senior team, it is kind of hard to stick with it and get our feet wet,” Doan said. “We gave them a lot of freebies in the second quarter and for them to battle back and work on what we’ve been doing was great. We tried to keep it simple today and we got there at the end. I am proud of how they closed the game out.”
Denis Morris coach Michael Doodeman didn’t seemed too concerned with the loss and was happy that he was able to get all 16 players on his roster some floor time.
That was by design.
“That was our main focus,” he said. “The regular season is over and I wanted to get everyone playing in this tournament. We have a big team and every practice during the season we had almost 16 out. It was a reward. We also have a lot of Grade 11s on the team who will be stepping up next year and they will benefit from this playing time.”
Tigers 49 Reds 48
Cat’s Caboose Player of the Game: Ridley’s Jude Mbaziira with the game-winning three pointer with 7.1 seconds left in the game.
For the Ridley Tigers: Nick Nyimbili 13; Darius Des Vignes 12; Thomas Vaillancourt 9; Eric Pushka 8; Mbaziira 5;
For the Denis Morris Reds: Josh Kaufman 13; Mike Ukiomogbe 9; Campbell Hastings 8; Dylan Maltby 6; Matteo Pingue 4; Ben Vreeken 3; Josh Matthew 3; Francis Delapaz 1; Rober Konkle 1
Up next: Denis Morris plays Lakeshore in the consolation quarter-finals Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Denis Morris and Ridley plays E.L. Crossley in championship quarter-finals Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Denis Morris.
PHOENIX 87 GRYPHONS 33
The St. Francis Phoenix advanced to the BPSN semifinals — they have a quarter-final bye — by defeating the Greater Fort Erie Gryphons 89-33 Monday.
Scoring for the Phoenix were D.J. Conway (19), Quinten Ethier (15), Jack Ciocca (14), Vlad Brundula (11) Andrew Enns (10), Allen Kalonji (8), Matt Futino (6), Luca Valvano (2) and Nixon Provenzano (2).
Greater Fort Erie’s scorers weren’t available because first names weren’t provided on the game sheet.
St. Francis will play in the championship semifinals Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against either A.N. Myer or Eden.
Greater Fort Erie meets Holy Cross in the consolation quarter-finals Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Churchill.
CYCLONE 87 PATRIOTS 36
The E.L. Crossley Cyclone advanced to the BPSN quarter-finals with a 87-36 victory over the Saint Paul Patriots Monday at Crossley.
Scoring for the Cyclone were Noah Minor (24), Riley Bleich (19), Aakash Senthil (11), Alex Lafferty (11) Jackson Kalybaba (9), Samuel Jeffery (8), Luke Klassen (8) and Connor Bleich (1).
Replying for Saint Paul were Joey Williams (13), Nathan Sanchez (8), Davion Gordon (6), Jack Bush (6), Dante DeBenedetti (2) and Daniel Szoffenowicz (2).
Crossley plays in the championship quarter-finals at Denis Morris versus Ridley College on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at Denis Morris. Saint Paul advances to the consolation semifinals Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Churchill.
BULLDOGS 73 GATORS 41
The top-seeded Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs advanced to the BPSN championship semifinals Wednesday with a 73-41 triumph over the Lakeshore Catholic Gators Monday at Churchill.
Scoring for the Bulldogs were Alexien Evseyev (24), Muhjeeb Omar (9), Luca Namestnik (9), Monte Evans (7), Gary Lin (6), Mazen Yagubi (6), Owen Cuthbert (6), David Figueroa (2) and Bennett Pisek (4)
Scoring for Lakeshore were Max Annunziata (17), Dylan Lubberts (9), Luc Jean Baptiste (5), Allan Buri (5), Seth Cornwall (4) and Damian Spiteri (1)