Hawks North repeat as provincial champions

May 17, 2018   ·   0 Comments

For the second year in a row the Orangeville Hawks North Boys U15 basketball team travelled to London for the Provincial Championships on May 11 – 13, returning undefeated and with a gold medal.

The team trains out of Shelburne and is coached by Chris Sales and Jane Godbold.

This year the U15 team competed in division 13.

The Hawks faced tough competition in Pool A but defeated the Orillia Lakers (72-65) and Collingwood Trailblazers (64-53) in two ‘barn-burner’ games, claiming top spot for Orangeville.

Highlights from pool play included a clutch rebound by Adam Gill late in game two to secure the win. Alex MacMillan had relentless fast breaks that led to 23 points over the two games.

Sebastian Perreault had a key three-pointer to keep the score close early against Orillia. Kane Jacques also had two strong games pouring in 29 points including a clutch three pointer to put the game out of reach for Collingwood.

This put the Hawks North team up against the North York Avengers in one semi-final game.

The Avengers took an early lead and stretched it to double digits before Nathan Williams stepped up to shut down North York’s best player allowing the Hawks to narrow the margin and eventually come away with a 62-55 win. A clutch rebound and put back by Gabe Hennin helped spark the comeback.

This set up a gold medal game against the South Simcoe Sonics

“They never stopped,” said coach Sales, “It was facing a buzz-saw!”

The pressure from South Simcoe was nearly overwhelming and when a key Hawks player fouled out late in the third quarter the Hawks were down by 13 points.

“We could have given up right then,” said Sales, “I was down to seven players and three others were playing with four fouls. I told the guys ‘just hang in there, whittle away at the lead and you never know what might happen.’”

The Hawks North played a lockdown defense and generated enough offense to tie the game at 72 and send it to overtime.

An exhausted Hawks team found extra reserves of energy and pulled out an incredible 79-73 OT win and captured the Gold Medal.

“In the final quarter and then 4 minutes of overtime we scored 32 points.” Sales said. “And all but one of them were scored by Nate (Vanderkolk) and Abel. They put on a clinic,” he added.

Vanderkolk (who averaged 23 points per game) and Sales (who averaged 19) were named tournament co-MVPs.

“I could not have been more proud of the way this team played this weekend,” Sales. “To come here with only eight players, face the kind of adversity we did, play as a true team by trusting each other and depending on each other, and never giving up, even when we had lots of excuses to do so….well that says a lot.”

Another season of Hawks North basketball comes to an end with four straight wins and a Gold Medal.

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