By Larry Moko
OJ Salman is happy to win the 2020 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic junior boys’ high school basketball championship.
Kamal Salman is equally pleased to win the title.
A lot of things about the identical twin brothers are the same. The curly-haired redheads scored 13 and 10 points, respectively — including key three-point baskets in the fourth quarter — to lead the St. Thomas More Knights to a 58-48 decision over the St. John Henry Newman Cardinals on Thursday.
It was More’s first championship in junior since 2010-11.
OJ wears jersey No. 1 and Kamal sports No. 2. And if you’re wondering about that choice, here’s why. “Basically, I’m the older twin, so I got the No. 1,” said OJ, who was born three minutes before Kamal. “In rep, we’ve done 1 and 10 …another zero.
“People always ask, ‘which one is which?’ ‘who scored?’ or ‘who stole it?’ Sometimes we argue with each other but at the end of the day we only care about the victory.”
More coach Rob Puglia say the Salmans are “engines” for the Knights. “Those two guys just don’t stop working,” he said. “They are competitive and have been playing basketball for at least 10 years. They are two of the most skilled athletes I’ve seen in a long time.”
Zuriel Mhlongo scored a game-high 14 points for More and Colin Taylor added 10.
“It was a complete team effort down the stretch,” Puglia said. “In the second half specifically when the game was tight we asked the players to make some adjustments and they did.”
The Cardinals went on a 6-0 run to begin the fourth quarter and take a 39-38 lead. Said Salman: “We touched it up at the end, we did what we had to do.”
Newman’s top scorers were Grant Mackinnon (13), Obaro Enuekwe-Krubu (10), Markus Palermo (nine), Alex Di Francesco (eight), Alexander Vanegas (eight).
The only loss for first-place More (13-1) this season was 56-50 to third place Newman (10-4).
The More roster is also comprised of Athian Amhar, Brannon Russell, Joshua Malott, Akeem Maxwell, Julian Bistas, Eric Chalenseouk, Elijah Barnes and Hunter Beckett.
Source: Angelica Tarli