Ten city championship banners, covering two different sports, doled out in a period of just slightly more than 24 hours, meant that SDSSAA officials were kept hopping over the course of this past weekend.
And while the list of teams moving on to NOSSA playdowns, with visions of an OFSAA appearance, here and there, included many of the expected pre-season favourites, some of the more dramatic finishes came courtesy of age brackets that do not normally grab the spotlight.
At the top of that mountain stood the Hanmer Sabres novice boys basketball team, who overcame an eight point deficit with three minutes to play and then rode that momentum through their five minute overtime period, besting the College Notre-Dame Alouettes 65-60 in the first of the Saturday three-game set that would take place at Lasalle Secondary.
Ashton Giroux (27 pts), Jacob Hogue (15) and Mathieu Champagne (10) paced the attack for the winners, with Sebastien Smith showing the way for both teams with a 29-point effort in a losing cause for CND.
"We had control of the game in the first half, but then they pushed back and got the lead," noted Hanmer head coach Denis Lessard. "We were down by eight with three minutes left, but they were in foul trouble and we just chipped away. They had a chance to finish it with about five seconds to play, but the basketball gods were on our side."
For a school that has hovered right around the one hundred student mark for several years now, E.S. Hanmer is gradually making in-roads in keeping their elementary athletes closer to home. "These boys have been with me since grade seven, so given the fact that they stuck around (for grade nine), I knew it was going to be a good year," acknowledged Lessard.
Rounding out the Hanmer roster are Nathan Cotnoir, Cody Wahl, Alex Richard, Joshia Montpellier, Martin Boisvert, Noah Perreault and Evan Lavallee.
It's also been a very good year for the Lasalle Lancers senior boys team, who made it four straight city titles with a convincing 71-34 win over the College Notre Dame Alouettes, with Liam LaPierre breaking through for no less than 30 points for the hard-court powerhouse.
"I think the preparation for this whole year just started earlier," suggested Lasalle head coach, Joel Rehel. "In mid-August, these guys were asking to get in shape, right off the hop. That started them off on the right foot. Usually, we get that lull, at some point in the season - but we just haven't had that this year."
Joining Liam LaPierre in preparing for NOSSA play next Monday and Tuesday are teammates Brennan LaPierre, Andrew Middleton, Nick Burke, Noah Carpino, Kyle Brouillette, Broedy Grenier, Braeden Pakkala, Sybastian Drew, Morgan Byers, Tyson Belland, Adam Bertrand and Brian Nelson.
The Lo-Ellen Park Knights also made things look easy in the junior final, stopping Lasalle 55-37 as Dax Mazzuchin and Anthony Thom hooped 20 and 14 points respectively for the Knights. Richie Daly was the leading scorer for Lasalle, finishing with 17 points.
Setting the tone for the boys basketball crew on Friday night, the Chelmsford Flyers junior boys edged the Lively Hawks 73-71 at Bishop Carter, riding a three-pronged attack to victory in Division II action. Anthony Campbell and Riley Herden each drilled home 17 points for the CVDCS crew, with Donald Meilleur adding 15, while Brek Morrow (31) and Ryan Remington (28) carried the offense for the Hawks.
In senior Division II play, the Bishop Alexander Carter Gators and head coach Jeff Mousseau closed out a perfect 12-0 season, downing the Lively Hawks 54-31. Andrew Lewis (19 pts), Riley Tessier (17) and Josh MacNeil (10) were the go-to guys, on offense, for the Gators, while Mark Smith was absolute beast on the boards.
Jacob Lewis, Bailey Foucault, Logan Boyd, Dylan Anctil, Dan Lukoff, Eric Boudreau and Cody Costello were also part of the BAC championship team.