The senior boys basketball team began the Cav Classic on Thursday, January 29th with a nail-biting battle with Palmer Secondary. The game was hard-fought, incredibly entertaining but naturally quite disappointing due to the heartbreaking 67-66 loss suffered in the final few minutes.
The Cavs took the lead in the first quarter using their high-tempo, run and gun offense, led by Dillon Cooper and Aman Mehat. But the advantage wouldn’t hold as the Palmer Griffins managed to take the lead by 18 points midway through the game.
“[He] has the ability to elevate his game and is not afraid of the big moment or big shot. He makes his teammates better by creating easy opportunities for them.” said Coach Hill of his team captain, Aman Mehat. Photo by Taehoon Kim.
Two of the Cavalier stars, Hunter Welsh and Jaden Narwal were not in the lineup which was a cause for concern in the days leading up to the tournament, and as the Palmer Griffins pulled away, extending their lead throughout by rebounding the home team, it looked as if the Cavs were down and out.
The crowd, you could say, was the sixth man on the court. Despite the troubling score, and the clock ticking toward it’s finale, the Cavs rallied back from their 18 point deficit in an impressive fashion.
When asked about the highlights of the game, Coach Hill said, “The emergence of Brendan Artley.” The grade eleven student was a beast under the basket nabbing rebounds in the defensive zone and drawing fouls in the offensive zone.
“He is getting better every time he steps on the floor.” Hill added. “[Brendan] has tremendous timing with rebounding the basketball and when he gets stronger he will be a tough match up for our opponents.”
Jaden Narwal commended Artley on his performance, as well. “Brendan was really aggressive and got to the line. He stepped up where Hunter (who was out) excels.” Narwal, the grade 11 Cav star could not play due to injury, went on to praise the fans.
“[The fan support] helped us a lot. We need to do [events] like this more often,” he said. It truly was an incredible show of school spirit.
Dillon Cooper with his eye on the basket. Photo by Abigail Saxton
he deafening chants of “Defense” and “Go Cavs Go” grew louder as the score grew closer. Led by the school mascot, The Cavalier, and several grade twelve and elevens such as Nick Lewis and Jordan Mauro, the boys and girls on the bleachers were stomping their feet and cheering with an impressive intensity.
“It’s great to see the kids get excited for their classmates with everyone pulling in the same direction, ” said Coach Hill of the Collingwood fan support. “I wish every game had that atmosphere.”
No doubt the fans played a significant role in Collingwood’s comeback. It was as if the team was challenged to play with the intensity of the crowd, feeding off their energy, and after a few solid defensive plays, successful free-throws, and two integral steals by Aman Mehat, the Senior boys were back on top with only a few minutes left in regulation.
Collingwood fans helping the boys rally back during the second game of the tournament. Photo by Headmaster, Rodger Wright.
But once again it didn’t last, despite the efforts of coaches, players and fans, and in the last minute of play, the Cavs were down by one with the final possession of the game. Though they fell short in the final seconds, many would argue that they lost the game under the rim. Narwal explained that “when we don’t get rebounds we don’t get fast breaks.” And anyone who watches this team would know that that’s their bread and butter.
Despite the 67-66 loss, it was definitely a game worth watching as it was an amazing performance by both the team and the fans. Keep up the intensity Collingwood!
By: Mr. Pimental