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Quality Inn - Sudbury
Paul Lefebvre - MP for Sudbury
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
Re-tooling Lasalle Lancers senior boys basketball
by Randy Pascal

Lasalle Lancers' senior boys basketball coach Kyle Beers recently expounded that the single-most important benefit of having his young team participate in OFSAA this year lies in the experience they will garner when the team is better positioned to make a serious run.

The Lancers, after all, can return their entire roster for the 2018-2019 season.

Of course, the last time Lasalle travelled to provincials with a similar mindset, they returned home as consolation champions.

Either way, it's been one heck of a season for a crew that literally had to find a way to bring all of the pieces together over the course of the past five to six months.

A 17 year old grade 11 student, Brad Dumais came to the Lancers after spending grades nine and ten as a member of the Elliot Lake Secondary School Atoms. "I was hoping on improving my game," he noted at practice last week, as the team prepared for their upcoming trek to Pembroke.

"I was a good shooter, but I never thought that I could be here. He (coach Beers) helped turn me around, gave me some game that I never thought I had. It's been a really good year, they've treated me so well."

Dumais is just the latest addition to a team that features a "scoring by committee" approach that is rivalled by very few other high school teams. "All of our players can go out and drop ten points on any given night," he said.

"It doesn't matter who we run the offense through, it will end up running perfectly. We will go our and score our points." Another part of that offensive depth comes courtesy of the surprise addition of R.J. Hanna, an 18 year old native of the Bahamas who moved to Sudbury some seven months ago.

Understandably, there would be an adjustment period required for the young man who is still acclimatizing himself to skiing, snow and, of course, Tim Horton's. "Basketball in the Bahamas is pretty competitive, more street ball like, fast paced," he said.

"Here, it's a slower pace and we pass the ball more. In the Bahamas, there's one standout player on a team, usually a big or a guard. Here, it seems like more teamwork." A very quick study who has taken quickly to the teachings of both Beers and assistant coach Joel Rehel, Hanna has morphed his game, given the role that he plays with the Lancers.

"I'm a small forward, so I have to handle the ball and take care of the ball more, instead of just putting my head down and going straight to the rim. I have to focus on making better shot decisions, whether to pass the ball or shoot it."

If a good crop of newcomers was important to the Lancers' success this year, so too was the return of a handful of key veterans, including 17 year old grade 12 senior Nathan Scully. For those returnees, a different approach on the court from recent years was already a given, long before regular play began.

"Last year, we were built around Noah (LaPierre)," said Scully. "This year, we have to pass the ball more, each take our own shots. It helps make us all better." In fact, the strategy paid particular dividends as the Lancers capped off a regional playoff run with yet another NOSSA championship.

"The last game we had against Korah was good," said Scully. "We had a lot of good ball movement, a lot of people got on. Our hearts were racing about going to OFSAA." Rounding out the 20172-018 Lasalle senior boys basketball roster are: Liam LaPierre, Brennan LaPierre, Andrew Middleton, Mike Babcock, Noah Carpino, Mike Bautista, Joseph Deni, Eric Senechal and Broedy Grenier.

Following is a brief recap of the road to OFSAA for the Lancers:

SDSSAA semi-final: Lasalle 55 Sudbury Secondary 47
Scully (21); Babcock (8) - Senechal (8 rebounds)

SDSSAA final: Lasalle 54 Lo-Ellen 50
Scully (27); Senechal and Deni (11 rebounds each)

NOSSA - game 1: Lasalle 62 Korah 46
Babcock (12); Scully (9)

NOSSA - game 2: Lasalle 68 West Ferris 26
B LaPierre (16); Scully (12); Babcock (11)

NOSSA - final: Lasalle 58 Korah 45
Scully (21)

Seeded 11th at OFSAA, the Lancers struggled in their opener, dropping a 76-48 decision to the Woodroofe High School Tigers from Ottawa. Nathan Scully paced the Lasalle attack with 13 points, while Mohamed Omar and Ibrahim Al-Ahmadi netted 19 points each for the Tigers.

The Lasalle Junior Lancers made it a clean sweep at NOSSA, capturing their "AA" banner with a lineup of Jackson Bennett, Kyle Brouillette, Nicholas Burke, Morgan Byers, Kaleb Courville, Parker Farstad, Anthony Levesque, Ashaaq Lodhi, Calum Passi, David Pigozzo and Kepler Salt.

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