Cougars claim city title, medal at WOSSAA
London Community News
By John Matisz/London Community News
It took until the final buzzer of their 11th game of the season before the Montcalm Secondary School Cougars could celebrate. They had finally defeated an opponent.
"I told the guys in November the only game that mattered was this one," Cougars head coach Gar Leyshon said following a 60-58 victory over the Westminster Secondary School Wildcats in the Thames Valley Regional Athletics Central Senior Boys AA basketball final Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 22) at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School.
"If I were to pick one game to win all season, this would definitely be it."
The determined Cougars went on to claim a bronze medal at the Western Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association's (WOSSAA) annual showdown, by defeating St. Thomas' Central Elgin Collegiate Institute Titans, 64-54.
In order to advance to WOSSAA, it took a pair of clutch free-throws from Grade 11 guard Said Smadjic, who netted both freebies with 24.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter versus Westminster. The grace under pressure shown by Smadjic effectively sealed the title for the previously winless Cougars, as the Wildcats faltered on their last possession.
Despite a 10-0 comeback run by Westminster in the third quarter — thanks to a combination of clutch jump shots and solid defensive rebounding — the Cougars were able to hold on. Wildcats forward E. Franklin was the game's highest scorer, potting 19 in the losing effort. Terrell Reddick-King led Montcalm with 16.
A woeful 0-10 regular season led up to the AA final for Montcalm, while the Wildcats entered with a mediocre 4-6 record. Since the two squads are the only AA teams in the Central Division, they meet in the final each year.
Westminster head coach Dan Colfat, who finished up 46 years as a high school basketball coach on a sour note, was not particularly down following the AA final.
"I told the kids I don't need any more trophies; this is for you guys," Colfat said.