The Crusaders varsity boys team is finally back to full strength again and looking ready to make a strong push to win the South/West region. Brent Kingston returned to the lineup in early January just in time for the rematch with Leo Hayes. Despite being limited to just 20 minutes in that game Brent put on a very strong showing, leading the Crusaders to a 10 point win over a team that beat the Crusaders by 16 points in their first league game back in December.

Despite an inconsistent performance during their three games in the Riverboat tournament, the Crusader also had a very strong showing against Sussex last week. For the first 30+ plus minutes the Crusaders went with a eight man rotation that presented numerous match-up problems for the Sonics. The main benefactor on these mismatches was Jordan McGill and Jesse Bartlett who were able to get to the basket for easy post ups and offensive rebounds. When the Crusaders went with their big lineup of Kingston (6’4″), McGill (6’4″), Ryan Vaughan (6’3″), Simon Gagnon (6’2″) and Bartlett (5’10” and VERY strong) the Sonics struggled to get stops or second shots.

Observations from the Riverboat tournament:

  • Horton High team has incorporated a lot of the concepts from Canada Basketball’s CP Program into what they do offensively. This isn’t a surprise since four of their starters are either current or past members of the elite program. The two stars of the team, Ellis Ffrench and Jeremy Dunn, are both great examples of players who can shoot the 3-ball to extend the defense, can put the ball on the floor to create shots for teammates, and both make quick “pre-catch” reads. Very impressive.
  • Calais High School freshman Cam Shorey is going to be a great player. Even at his young age he was one of the team leaders all weekend. He shoots the ball with a lot of confidence, rebounds and defends. Plus he and Adam Spurrell (another freshman) were the only two players to throw down dunks during the tournament.
  • The Crusaders biggest problems might be their depth. They have seven seniors who are capable players, two grade 11 players good enough to start, and two under age players that need to get minutes otherwise they should be play JV. No matter how well the team does, trying to get 10-11 players good minutes is extremely difficult.

Next big match up will be Tuesday Jan. 29 when Saint Malachy’s visits the Crusaders for a 7:30 p.m. start. Only one loss separates these two teams and both are still very much in the running to host regionals.

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