There was silence coming from the Richview Saints locker room after their loss in the city boys 3A basketball finals on Wednesday night.
Losing 62-39 to the Oakwood Barons was a tough blow and one by one, the players exited the Kerr Hall gymnasium at Ryerson University.
Hakim Fenton stayed behind for a while, sitting at his locker. It was the last game of a fine high school career.
“Oakwood did what they needed to do to get the win,” said Fenton, post-game. “We just couldn’t pull through.”
From the opening tip, the Barons were in complete control of the Saints, facilitating the offence through Jahdyah Adams (12 points) and executing a ferocious half-court defence.
Despite being down by double-digits, Fenton injected a pulse throughout the Saints team. He used his speed to attack the basket against Oakwood defenders while generating steals to get out in transition.
The hustle the Saints star player displayed meant more than the 16 points he recorded in defeat.
“Hakim is a special kid,” said Richview head coach Raymond Tone. “He’s had to overcome so many personal struggles and has become a leader throughout our school.
“Without Hakim and our two other seniors, Rateb Tahiri and Seth Johnson, we wouldn’t be here.”
With the outcome decided in the fourth quarter, Tone was still coaching with a fervent intensity. The crowd of Richview supporters continued to supply the energy to the Saints players.
At every game, it is Fenton’s family and friends that are the loudest. Camille, Hakim’s mother, was clapping cheers after her son made a basket. Fenton’s cousin Samantha displayed enthusiasm that permeated the entire gymnasium.
“Hakim works very hard,” said Camille. “Everything is basketball for him. When he’s not at the house, he’s practicing at the gym.”
The support for Fenton and the Saints demonstrates the community atmosphere that Richview projects towards athletics. Samantha has seen it grow throughout Hakim’s time at the school.
“Win or lose we stand strong by Richview,” said Samantha. “They play with heart regardless of the outcome.”
Even with an energetic fan base, it did not take away from Fenton’s immense disappointment after the game.
His chance at making the provincial basketball championship (OFSAA) was over. The contributions that Fenton made during the game did not lead to his ultimate goal.
As Fenton prepares for life after high school basketball, he is grateful for the athletic and character development that Richview afforded him.
“I will remember the coaches who taught me and all of the great teammates I had over the years,” said Fenton. “I will also cherish the fans who supported me to get to this moment.”