Defending champs win East Region final

A missed free throw in the last two seconds gave defending champions Sir Wilfrid Laurier Blue Devils a nail-biting victory over their rivals West Hill Warriors in the East Region Senior Boys Tier One basketball final on Feb. 11 at Seneca College.

It was an extremely close game throughout, with no team leading by more than 10 points at any given time. Thirty-seven seconds left on the clock, Laurier sank a game-changing basket to tie West Hill with 51 points.

The score tied at 51, Laurier made a two-point basket to give them a two point lead with four seconds left to go in the fourth quarter.

With just 2.1 seconds on the clock, Laurier fouled West Hill, resulting in two free throws and giving the Warriors an opportunity to tie the game.

But the Warriors sank only one, letting the Blue Devils narrowly win the East region championship 53-52.

“I’m happy, but it’s more of a relief,” Laurier head coach Tony Vallejo said. “We were expected to repeat, and we were able to accomplish it. We had a lot of teams gearing to knock us down.”

The two teams played each other twice this year, once during regular season and once during a tournament the weekend of Feb. 5. Laurier came out on top both times.

The Blue Devils finished the season at the top of the Eastern Region standings with a perfect record of 10-0. The West Hill Warriors came second, finishing 8-2.

With the win, Sir Wilfrid Laurier advanced to the city championship and was to host Earl Haig for their quarter-final match on Feb. 18. Earl Haig finished first in the North/East region with a record of 6-3.