Saints win Sil­ver Fox

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE MIL­TON

The Spec­ta­tor

Three Hamil­ton teams made the semi­fi­nals, but it was the one out­sider in the Fi­nal Four that walked away with the 46th An­nual Teach­ers Sil­ver Life Fox In­vi­ta­tional ti­tle.

And the drought for lo­cal teams in the city’s premier se­nior high school boys bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment has reached 16 years, and count­ing.

The top-ranked St. Bene­dict Saints rode strong starts to each half to de­feat Car­di­nal New­man Car­di­nals, 55-49, in a tense, phys­i­cal, Sil­ver Fox fi­nal at Salt­fleet District High School Fri­day night.

Salt­fleet Storm won the bronze medal game, 57-48, over Cathe­dral Gaels.

The Car­di­nals were the first lo­cal team to make the Sil­ver Fox cham­pi­onship game in five years.

Bishop Ton­nos of An­caster lost the 2012 fi­nal to Oakville’s St. Ig­natius of Loy­ola. They were try­ing to be­come the first Hamil­ton-area school to win the Sil­ver Fox over­all ti­tle since the 2001 St. Thomas More Knights, led by MVP John Abravac, beat Burling­ton Nel­son in the fi­nal.

In­stead, St. Bene­dict be­came the first win­ner from Cam­bridge, and with their fifth tour­na­ment ti­tle of this sea­son, are likely to be an up­per-ech­e­lon seed at OFSAA, as­sum­ing they get there.

Zubair Seyed, the Saints’ guard who dom­i­nated the tour­na­ment and led all scor­ers in the fi­nal with 25 points, was the tour­ney MVP.

“I thought we held on all right, right to end,” said Car­di­nal New­man’s Go­ran Viselinovic, who had an out­stand­ing tour­na­ment, was named the best de­fen­sive player of the 16-team event, and led the Car­di­nals with 19 points in the fi­nal.

“They’re a good team, and it hasn’t gone our way when we play them. But it’ll be dif­fer­ent next time.”

The fi­nal was a re­match of the cham­pi­onship game of the pres­ti­gious Hein­buch Clas­sic in Water­loo in late Novem­ber, which St. Bene­dict also won. But this time, Car­di­nal New­man was miss­ing guard Maleik Gor­don, their best player, who was hurt in the semi­fi­nal vic­tory over Hamil­ton Catholic league ri­val Cathe­dral.

But St. Bene­dict also lost an im­por­tant cog in their en­gine when six-foot-ten cen­tre Evan Ro­den­burg was side­lined early in the fi­nal by a back in­jury, al­ter­ing the low­post equa­tion.

The Car­di­nals dug them­selves into a 13-2 deficit in the first quar­ter, but sped up their half-court de­fence and clawed them­selves out of that hole and took a lead.

The high-spir­ited af­fair was tied 26-26 at the half.

The Saints sprinted out of the blocks quickly again in the sec­ond half and en­tered the fi­nal quar­ter up 43-36, enough cush­ion to come home as cham­pi­ons.

Car­di­nal New­man reached the fi­nal with a 58-49 vic­tory over Cathe­dral in the cham­pi­onship semi­fi­nal af­ter dis­patch­ing Tim­mins 56-37 and North Park 57-37.

St. Bene­dict’s route in­cluded vic­to­ries over Peter­bor­ough’s Adam Scott, Colling­wood, and Salt­fleet, in a game they broke open in the fi­nal four min­utes.

Hamil­ton’s Sir Al­lan Mac­Nab Lions lost 70-54 to Sar­nia North­ern in the Joe Raso flight fi­nal.

The tour­na­ment’s first all-star team com­prised Viselinovic and Tyrell He­bert from the Car­di­nals and the Saints’ Seyed, Jake Pol­ski and Justin Mal­neric.

New­man’s Nick Rakas won the Sil­ver Fox three-point shoot­ing con­test.

I thought we held on all right, right to end. GO­RAN VISELINOVIC CAR­DI­NAL NEW­MAN

CATHIE COW­ARD, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Car­di­nal New­man’s Maleik Gor­don looks to drive the ball past Cathe­dral’s Zanyah Jones dur­ing the semi­fi­nal win Fri­day. The win set up New­man’s fi­nal with St. Bene­dict.

CATHIE COW­ARD, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Car­di­nal New­man’s Tyrell Her­bert was man­han­dled as he went up for a shot against Cathe­dral’s Zanyah Jones and Kionte Collins, who blocked his shot.

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