Gaels get basketball season rolling with first win

By Larry Moko

The Cathedral Gaels showed off their team depth to open the 2019-20 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic senior boys’ high school basketball schedule.

Bishop Harris, who scored 45 points for Cathedral in its recent National Senior Circuit game against St. Francis Phoenix of St. Catharines, wasn’t even in the starting lineup against the visiting St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves Tuesday. He came off the bench – scoring nine points – to help the Gaels to a 74-68 victory.

“We don’t have one specific starting lineup yet,” Cathedral coach Luca Fortino said. “We have about nine or 10 guys that we could interchange depending on who we play. They are making it tough on us coaches to make a decision about starters.”

In his 45-point performance, Harris tossed in 11 three-point baskets. “Bishop had an outstanding game that day,” Fortino said. “I haven’t seen anybody get that many in a while. It ranks pretty high.

“As soon as he came off the bench in this game, too, he was playing really well.”

Harris said the Gaels have a strong lineup and he doesn’t mind sharing floor time with his teammates. “The fact that I don’t start doesn’t affect me,” he said. “Minutes can be scarce. It’s what you do in the minutes you are given.”

According to Harris, the Gaels’ goal is to “out-depth” opposing teams. “We have really good defenders.”

The leading scorers for Cathedral in the see-saw contest against Brebeuf were Malcolm Maganda, with 18 points, and Jordan Truelove, with 10. Other top point-getters were Thomas Taylor (nine), Zach Powell (eight), Trevor Morris (seven), Josh Coward (seven) and Mark Cadet (six).

High-flying Isaac Graham netted 17 points for the Braves, who went on a 13-2 run to close out the third quarter and cut the deficit to one point. Omeechi Williams contributed 15 and Joshua Omojafo had 11.

Cathedral is seeking a third-consecutive HWCAA title.

“It’s always tough to be on the road against the defending champions,” Brebeuf coach Jae Dunphy said. “Their players have been around. They’ve been in big games and close games. They play with great energy.”

Dunphy, however, was disappointed by the ball handling of the Braves and how often they got their “pockets picked.”

“They were warned that Cathedral was going to come for the ball.”

Fortino was pleased with the defensive intensity of his squad. “We’re out-sized sometimes on the floor,” he said, “but we work really hard on the defensive rebounding. There wasn’t one guy like in previous years getting 10-15 rebounds. We had five or six getting about five rebounds each. We feed on team defence and team rebounding.

“It was a great first game. These were two of the top teams in the city battling it out.”

Truelove’s layup with 11.9 seconds remaining gave Cathedral a 72-68 lead and Morris capped the scoring with a pair of successful foul shots with six seconds left.

The Cathedral offence was engineered by Maganda.

“Malcolm is a very talented player,” Fortino said. “He’s great with the ball. He doesn’t turn it over too much and he sees the floor very well. Now, he’s scoring.”

Elsewhere, the Bishop Ryan Celtics topped the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals, 55-46, the St. Thomas More Knights edged the St. Mary Crusaders, 62-58, and the Bishop Tonnos Titans defeated the ACMT Jaguars, 83-32.

Source: Marnie Jadon

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