Con­nec­tions and threads at Sil­ver Fox

Plenty of big names from lo­cal bas­ket­ball his­tory at pop­u­lar tour­na­ment

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE MIL­TON

Hamil­ton’s sport­ing past was no­tice­ably in­ter­twined with its present and fu­ture as one of this city’s an­nual ath­letic cor­ner­stones tipped off Thurs­day morn­ing.

The Salt­fleet Storm, play­ing at their home gym, started well, sagged, then ended well to de­feat Bramp­ton’s St. Roch Ravens, 66-62, in the open­ing round of the 46th Teach­ers Life Sil­ver Fox Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment. The two-day tour­na­ment, fea­tur­ing 16 top se­nior boys teams, is be­ing played at both Salt­fleet and Glen­dale.

The Storm was the last lo­cal boys high school team to win a pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship when cur­rent Notre Dame red­shirt Nikola Djogo led them to the 2013 AAA OFSAA ti­tle. The cur­rent Storm is un­de­feated, 11-0, in the Hamil­ton pub­lic league, but face le­git­i­mate chal­lengers Sir Al­lan MacNab and An­caster each once more when league play re­sumes af­ter the week­end.

Salt­fleet is coached by Dave Ormerod of the fa­mous Hamil­ton bas­ket­ball fam­ily.

His father, Ken, was a lo­cal coach­ing leg­end and coached his son at Scott Park be­fore Dave went on to lead the 1991 West­ern Mus­tangs to the first Cana­dian men’s bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onship in school his­tory. Dave’s son, Nolan, is in Grade 9 play­ing on Salt­fleet’s ju­nior team, and Thurs­day, he was man­ning the ad­mis­sion desk at the Sil­ver Fox tour­ney.

“Jim (Weather­bee, the tour­na­ment direc­tor) has done a nice job of hon­our­ing peo­ple like my dad and Joe Raso (for­mer St. Mary’s and Mac coach),” says Ormerod, who played in the Sil­ver Fox for Scott Park “a mil­lion years ago, when the big names were Run­neymede, Ge­orge Har­vey, teams like that.”

And play­ing ma­jor min­utes for the Storm this year is Rickey Mor­ri­son, son of well-known body builder Michelle Mor­ri­son. His father is Rickey Fog­gie, who quar­ter­backed the Tiger-Cats in 1997, along with An­thony Calvillo, and was at the helm of a high-oc­tane Toronto Arg­onauts of­fence a few years ear­lier.

Mor­ri­son had 10 points in the open­ing-round vic­tory over St. Roch’s (An­drew Bartlett led the Storm with 21), and is re­ally only in his se­cond year of elite bas­ket­ball, while a large num­ber of play­ers in the Sil­ver Fox have been play­ing rep for a decade or more, and high school for two or three years.

“I got cut from the ju­nior team in Grade 9 and in Grade 10, so dur­ing the sum­mers I went to a trainer in Ni­a­gara Falls, Mi­hai Ra­d­u­canu,” Mor­ri­son said.

“I made the se­nior team last year in Grade 11, but played less than two min­utes a game, so to build my ath­leti­cism I started work­ing out again.

“I never re­ally con­sid­ered foot­ball, I love bas­ket­ball. In Grade 9, the guys were OFSAA gold medal­lists and I just wanted to be part of that. When I got cut, it ac­tu­ally mo­ti­vated me more to play here.”

Ra­d­u­canu, it should be men­tioned, is also part of Hamil­ton hoops his­tory, hav­ing led Cathe­dral to an OFSAA cham­pi­onship.

Mor­ri­son will be back at Salt­fleet next sea­son as will a num­ber of his Storm team­mates. He wants to round his game into strong enough form to play univer­sity ball.

“He’s a re­ally good kid who lis­tens,” says Ormerod. “I think what­ever sport he wanted to play he’d be good at. He’s ath­letic. But he’s raw and he needs to play more. He hasn’t played at this level. But he’s one of the guys the univer­sity scouts ask about be­cause you see flashes of some things that oth­ers can’t do.”

Ormerod says Storm play­ers aren’t big but are ath­letic, “and we go about 10 or 12 deep. With the exam break, we haven’t had a game in a cou­ple of weeks and I think we feel that. But all the teams in this tour­na­ment are in the same boat.

“This is a good tour­na­ment, win or lose, be­cause you’re al­ways go­ing to get good games. That’s what we need: three or four good games as we get into the fi­nal part of our sea­son.”

The Sil­ver Fox took a late hit from one of the ris­ing ir­ri­ta­tions in pro­vin­cial high school bas­ket­ball: the On­tario prep school ex­plo­sion. Two of the lead­ing play­ers for No. 3 ranked Ni­a­gara Falls St. Paul, broth­ers Sefa and Asare Otchere, have re­cently trans­ferred to an academy in Brant­ford and aren’t here.

The cham­pi­onship fi­nal, be­tween the two re­main­ing un­de­feated teams of the tour­na­ment will be played at 7:30 p.m. Fri­day at Salt­fleet. The “flight” fi­nals — flight makeup is de­ter­mined when the teams have their first lost — are set for Glen­dale at 3 p.m., and Salt­fleet at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

One of those flights is named for Ken Ormerod.

For up-to-date re­sults, con­sult the tour­na­ment web­site: sil­ver­foxb­

When I got cut, it ac­tu­ally mo­ti­vated me more to play here. RICKEY MOR­RI­SON SALT­FLEET STORM


Car­di­nal New­man’s Maleik Gor­don goes up and around a Brant­ford North Park CVS player dur­ing first-day ac­tion at the 46th Sil­ver Fox tour­na­ment Thurs­day at Glen­dale Se­condary School. New­man beat North Park, 57-37. Play con­tin­ues Fri­day with games at Glen­dale and Salt­fleet high schools. The tour­na­ment fi­nal is at 7:30 p.m. at Glen­dale.


Salt­fleet’s Jah­mal Burke and An­drew Bartlett ap­ply heavy de­fence in their game against Sar­nia on Thurs­day night. Salt­fleet won, 56-54.

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