Day One at the Ontario basketball playoffs
Here we go, the first day of basketball, and lots of it at these provincial Quad-A high school senior boys' games. Yes, March Madness has come to Oshawa.
After three days of this, and I have already seen seven of nine games played at this fabulous facility, I won't want to see a basketball game for a long time. Trust me. And I'm only at one of four playoffs going on simultaneously across the province.
Whether you call it Durham College or the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, the place is huge and a great spot for basketball. Only one complaint, when officials blow the whistle in one gym, everyone tends to hesitate not knowing if it's in the game we're all watching.
Now, very important point. Yes, we were told the championship is Wednesday at 6 p.m. But organizers, convinced they had a great format, changed the time after coaches wanted a late start to the final. It's now at 8 p.m. Good luck fighting the traffic to get here. By the way, we weren't informed until Monday morning, and yes, the paper was already in your home, school or office.
Now to the hardwood, Pickering coach Mike Gordensky said he was worried about St. Thomas More of Hamilton. Despite a 13-point lead, Pickering saw it evaporate and the No. 12 school from Steeltown beat the No. 1 team 55-53. Yes, Pickering was without 6-foot-6 MiKyle McIntosh. Remember, he had the one game suspension for two technicals in the Durham region final that caused a stir with lots of people.
Hold on, this strange double-knockout playoff can still see Pickering win the gold medal — with four wins in two days. It'll be tough. Other upsets, well, if you call it that, No. 10 Beal of London beat No. 9 St. Michael's of Toronto 70-53 and the private school boys had a few words under their breath because one of their top players, George Mason, was ruled ineligible. He switched from Orillia and even his former school said the transfer was fine. No reason given, but a letter is apparently in the mail.
And No. 14 Notre Dame of Welland had a surprise for No. 8 St. Edmund Campion, a 51-44 win. The rest went according to plan, even though Eastern Commerce got an early scare trailing at halftime to Toronto's Pope John Paul II. So, here are the matchups for Tuesday. Win and move on. Lose and get an early start to the March Break.
Pickering plays Oakwood. Yes, I hear the ums and ahs. That winner will play the successor of the Richardson vs Campion game. Yes, more people think this will also be close.
St. Marguerite d'Youville plays St. Michael's and the winner will wait to play the survivor of the Pope John Paul II/Ross vs Mother Teresa playoff. Still with me?
Vaughan plays Bluevale and Eastern Commerce meets St. Anne. Both those winners meet in a quarterfinal. Beal plays Notre Dame and the other quarterfinal spot will be the winner of St. Thomas More versus St. Matthew/Nantyr Shores.
That's it for now.