By Larry Moko
One of the players on Cathedral’s high school basketball team definitely lived up to the nickname on the back of his warm-up jacket.
It identifies him as “Mighty Morris.”
That’s an apt description of Trevor Morris because the diminutive guard came off the bench to power the Cathedral Gaels to a 76-70 come-from-behind victory over the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves Tuesday.
Cathedral trailed by as many as 24 points in the third quarter of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association senior boys’ contest.
A Grade 12 student, Morris netted nine of his 10 points in the fourth quarter. In addition to connecting on three baskets from behind the arc, he provided his team with some inspiration and aggressive defense.
“I feel like I can go to so many guys on the bench for a different spark,” Cathedral coach Luca Fortino said. “But when I put Trevor on I know, no matter what, I’m going to get the utmost intensity. There’s nobody like him when he steps on the floor. He’s got grit that you can’t teach.
“He went 14 straight minutes once I put him on. And that defensive intensity turned the momentum of the game. He also hit some big shots.”
The visitors from Cathedral finally caught Bebreuf – at 67-67 with 2:20 left – on consecutive 3-point baskets by Morris. A free-throw by Kionte Collins and a 3-point basket from the corner by Nathan Bilamu then gave the Gaels a lead they would never relinquish.
“Tonight, coach put me in and I stepped up for the team,” Morris said.
“We always manage to pull each other out of holes. We don’t really start off strong. We’re more of a second-half team.”
Bilamu was the top point-getter with 20. Collins added 16 and Josh Coward netted 13.
Daniel Graham replied with 20 points for the Braves. Ares Culley-Bremner and Baron Bayne chipped in with 12 points each, while Markell Dell had 11.
“They don’t wilt in the face of adversity,” Brebeuf coach Jae Dunphy said of the Gaels, who trailed 26-18, 39-24 and 56-44 at the quarter breaks. “They’ve got shot-makers and they can win in a variety of ways.”
With the result, Brebeuf finished its regular-season schedule with a record of 9-3. However, both Cathedral and the St. Thomas More Knights have 9-2 records with one game to play. The first-place finisher receives an opening-round bye when league quarter-final playoffs begin Monday.
Morris, who has worked in the weight room to add upper-body strength, says he has confidence in the team and his own ability.
“I believe I can do anything when I’m on the floor,” Morris said. “I look at myself as fearless. I can do what everybody else does. It’s not that I’m too small or not fast enough. I feel I have the heart to play the game of basketball. I can guard anybody on the court.”
The Braves hurt themselves in the final minute by sinking only one of five free-throw attempts. And, according to Dunphy, Brebeuf could have done a better job of clock management when it had the lead in the fourth quarter (working the ball around more instead of jacking up shots). “If you add 20 more seconds off three possessions maybe they would have been playing catch up at the end instead of us,” the Braves coach said. “It was disappointing.”
In other HWCAA games, More defeated the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 69-41, and the Bishop Tonnos Titans topped the Cardinal Newman Cardinals, 56-47.
Cathedral, Brebeuf, St. Thomas More and Cardinal Newman will vie for the title this weekend in St. Catharines at the annual 16-team Ontario Catholic Classic tournament.
The championship game is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Denis Morris Catholic High School.
Source: Marnie Jadon