By Larry Moko
It was 20 for 20 in 2020.
Christian Barone, who wears jersey number 20 for the Bishop Tonnos Titans, won the three-point shooting contest at the annual Silver Fox Invitational high school basketball tournament Friday with a final-round score of 20.
Along with his 14 in the first round, it gave him an overall victory by two shots over runner-up Bishop Harris of the Cathedral Gaels.
Each of the 16 teams in the competition entered one player. They had 60 seconds to sink as many attempts from behind the arc as they could during half time of their games.
“I work on my shot a lot,” said Barone, who was mobbed by his teammates offering their congratulations. “It was exciting. It’s gratifying to see my hard work paying off.”
Said Tonnos coach Steve Maga: “Christian has been a great shooter for us this year. That’s what he prides himself on. He’s always a huge threat. When he shoots that well it’s tough to take him off the floor.”
In actual game competition, Tonnos won its opener 64-59 over the AB Lucas Vikings of London before dropping a 58-56 decision to another London entry – the HB Beal Raiders.
Advancing to Saturday’s semifinal rounds are the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic league’s Cathedral Gaels and St. Thomas More Knights. Cathedral topped the Blessed Trinity Thunder of Grimsby, 53-48, and followed that up with a 72-64 win over the Bernie Custis Tigers.
More’s victories were against the Sir Allan MacNab Lions (55-44) and the Saltfleet Storm (54-50).
Cathedral will face Toronto’s Michael Power Trojans at Glendale Secondary School, while the Knights take on Beal at Saltfleet District. Game times are 1:30 p.m. with the final scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Saltfleet.
Against Beal, Tonnos tied the score at 56-56 when Grade 10 student Nick Galli drained a three-pointer with 28 seconds remaining. The Raiders replied with an offensive rebound and short jumper with two seconds left to cap the scoring.
“We played a good defensive possession but they got a lucky bounce off the backboard,” Barone said of the game-winning play. “It hit the lip of the backboard. They ended up getting it, putting it up and scoring. We then didn’t have much time at the end to really get into something.”
Christian Craciun and Galli led the Titans attack with 13 points apiece while Barone contributed 12 and Ethan Petrie added 11.
“I’m really proud of the way our guys played,” Maga said. “Beal is a very good team. They’re big, physical, athletic and strong. We executed down the stretch when we needed to. We made tough shots to tie it up and whatnot.”
The other Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic entry – the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves — also went 1-1 with a tough loss in their second game. Brebeuf downed Tottenham’s St. Thomas Aquinas Stingers, 83-30, before bowing 63-62 to Michael Power.
Brebeuf rallied from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to take the lead. However, the Braves missed two consecutive layup opportunities when the score was 63-62 with under 18 seconds on the clock.
“If you would have told me that our best or I-B players would have had two cracks at the rim in under 20 seconds, I would have taken that,” Brebeuf coach Jae Dunphy said.
In addition, Brebeuf also went 0-for-4 in free-throw tries late in the contest.
Omeechi Williams and Baron Bayne each scored 15 points for the Braves. Cale Calura chipped in with 14 and Josh Omojafo added 12.
“We battled back,” Dunphy said. “It was key that we got back to playing a fast-paced tempo and moving the ball ahead of that length of theirs.
“We know they are a good team. I think that’s a good building block for us. Maybe we’ll see them in OFSAA if we’re lucky.”
Owen Osabuohien netted the final nine points for Power, finishing with a game-high 30.
In its win over Custis, Harris tossed in 35 for Cathedral.
Action at the 49th Silver Fox continues Saturday at both Glendale and Saltfleet beginning at 9 a.m.
Source: Marnie Jadon