The gym is a lot livelier than we thought here at day one of the provincial championships (for senior boy’s basketball of course).
So far we’ve been keeping a close eye on the Eastern Commerce Saint’s opening match against the Pope John Paul II Panthers.
It was a battle, to say the least, throughout the first half as Pope took a three-point lead into the second half. The third quarter was no secret to each team as the Saints came out flying with a tremendous amount of energy from not only early game starters, but also key players that came off the bench to provide the much needed spark that Eastern needed to pull away from this game.
The depth of the Panthers turned out to be a major downfall. With only four bench players, one of them suffering from a knee injury, Pope John Paul II tried to push a pace but the Saints continued to push back. It began as a punch for punch battle but eventually turned into a run-and-gun western film that had more shots than a Clint Eastwood film.
It was pretty exciting to watch the defending champions continue to deny any critique that questions their ability as one team and one unit. A true team effort gave them a hard-earned victory.
The underdogs, despite what they may be now, showed some heart in order to overcome an early tough test like the Panthers.
We now wait to see the fate of both the Panthers, who play an extra early round game to have a shot at the title, and the Saints, who continue to roll on a hot road that could lead them to some pretty big prizes.
Based on the quality of basketball on day 1 of this tournament, it’s going to be a wild, anxious and exciting ride that looks like a guarantee for a memorable championship game.