By Bernd Franke, The Tribune Friday, January 9, 2015
Lakeshore is going to a Tribune Boys Basketball Tournament final for the first time in five years, thanks to a tremendous – and three-mendous – contribution from Bailey Moreau.
The 6-foot point guard nailed eight-three pointers and topped all scorers with 37 points to lead the Gators to an 80-47 victory over the Port High Blue Bears in a consolation semifinal Friday at Niagara College in Welland.
With the win, Lakeshore advances to play the Thorold Golden Eagles in the B final at Ontario’s oldest high school tournament.
Only eight points separated the triple A Gators from their single A crosstown rivals in the much-anticipated battle for Port Colborne basketball bragging rights heading into halftime, but that all changed in the third quarter.
Again, thanks to Moreau .
The Grade 11 student’s 13 points in the quarter put momentum on Lakeshore’s side, where it remained the rest of the way. He drained two from beyond the arc, two from close range and went 3-for-4 from the foul line – when he wasn’t dishing the ball to teammates from the point guard position.
While Moreau has had high-scoring games in the past, he prefers to find the better shot for the team rather than the best shot for himself.
“I’m the kind of point guard I would rather give the ball to someone else, but my shot was on tonight,” he said.
“I kept letting it go.”
Moreau gave credit to head coach Mark Russell’s emphasis on conditioning. He said the Gators knew going into the match that the “tough game” could come down to which team had the most energy in the late going.
“Cardio was the key for us. We kept pushing the ball, and we got most of points on fast breaks,” said Moreau, who was selected as his team’s player of the game and was one of three Lakeshore players to score in double digits.
Matt Walker netted 16 and Mack Jones scored 10 for a Gators team that had everything to lose in the game against Port High, which has less than half of Lakeshore’s enrolment.
“We’ve got more to work with, so losing would have been a big upset.”
Blue Bears head coach Doug Fettes was proud of how his team was able to come together on a snow day on which school buses were cancelled.
“It was a stressful day, but we played all right.”
In the Port High coach’s assessment, hHot shooting on Lakeshore’s part in the third quarter was the turning point to the game.
“We just let it get away in the third quarter. We could have done better, but we never gave up,” Fettes said.
Both teams rebounded from qualifying-round losses with victories in Thursday’s quarter-finals to remain in contention for a B title. Lakeshore eliminated Jean Vanier 52-33 after opening with a 63-43 loss to the Denis Morris Redmen, and Port High followed a 97-30 loss to the A.N. Myer Marauders by sending the Eastdale Eagles to the sidelines with a 57-15 victory.
It’s been five years since a Port Colborne team last played on the final night of Tribune Tournament. The Gators last played in the consolation championship in 2010, when they defeated the E.L. Crossley Cyclone 49-42. Port High’s last appearance in the B final was in a 54-50 loss to the Centennial Cougars in 2006.
Tonight’s consolation championship tips off at 6 at the Niagara College Athletic Centre. The title game between the winners of the Centennial-Notre Dame and A.N. Myer-Denis Morris semifinals gets underway at 8 p.m.
Thorold advanced to the consolation final with a 49-35 victory over the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs, who returned to the court at the last minute after the Fort Erie Falcons were unable to field a full team due to transportation problems related to the weather.
Fort Erie defeated Churchill 36-38 in Thursday’s quarter-final round.