Game recap by: Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – The championship game of the Shoveller Memorial Invitational Basketball Tournament showcased the StFX X-Men taking on the host Dalhousie Tigers. After getting outscored in the first three quarters, the Tigers rallied with a 23-6 point effort in the fourth to earn the 73-65 comeback win in a fantastic game.
After the X-Men picked up the first five points of the game, the Tigers settled in on a big run started by a block from Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) on the defensive end, transitioning to a wide open three for Sven Stammberger (Halifax, NS).
The X-Men were forced into taking tough shots at the end of the shot clock, and the Tigers took advantage of their rebounding to push the ball in transition with Jordan Braithwaite (Milton, ON) picking up two quick buckets.
The X-Men countered with shots from Daniel Passley (Mississauga, ON), and Tristen Ross (Truro, NS) coming off the bench to knock down two huge shots from deep to put his team up 19-17 in the final seconds of the first quarter.
The X-Men carried their hot shooting into the second quarter as Jayden Smith (Halifax, NS) knocked down a three to get the quarter started.
In his first weekend as a Tiger, point guard Xavier Ochu (Milton, ON) was a monster on the glass in the first half, picking up 10 rebounds already only three minutes into the second quarter. He pushed the ball well after collecting the ball, and found teammates for transition shots to bring the Tigers back in front 25-22.
With four minutes left in the second, half of the FG's taken by the X-Men were from long range, causing long rebounds that were trouble for the Tigers. Kevin Bercy (Kanata, ON) picked up most of these boards, and put up big second-chance points for the X-Men.
A string of turnovers for the Tigers, led to a run by the X-Men that was capped off by a third triple from Tristen Ross to put his team ahead 38-31, forcing a timeout from the Tigers.
At the end of an action-packed half, the X-Men were on top of the Tigers 38-33.
Rebounding continued to be key for the X-Men in the third quarter with Bercy still cleaning up on offensive glass and stretching the lead to 10.
Sascha Kappos sparked the Tigers, hitting two midrange shots, followed up by getting to the rim for a big dunk.
Trading baskets for the rest of the third quarter, the game went into the fourth with the X-Men still up 59-50.
The Tigers started to get stops on the defensive end early in the fourth, and combined them with knocking down threes on the other end, cutting the lead to just one.
The Tigers took their first lead since the early minutes of the game on a beautiful dish from Cedric Sanogo (Montreal, QC) down low to Kappos for the slam. The Tigers went up 65-63 with four minutes to go.
A rivalry was forming between Kappos and Bercy, going shot for shot, and block for block while guarding each other.
The Tigers put together a quick five-point run on a big shot from Alex Carson (Lower Sackville, NS) and a lob from Brathwait up to Kappos for another massive dunk.
With less than a minute to go, the Tigers put together three offensive rebounds in one possession, using the entire clock each time, forcing the X-Men to foul with 25 seconds to go.
Ryan Harnett (Corner Brook, NS) knocked down the free-throws to put the Tigers up 73-65 and put the game out of reach.
The Tigers ran out the clock to become the Shoveller Memorial Tournament champions.
Tristen Ross earned the player of the game title for the X-Men, finishing with 14 points going 4-7 from long range. Kevin Bercy was named as a tournament all-star after his monster 24 point, 10 rebound effort.
Xavier Ochu got the nod as player of the game in this one for the Tigers, collecting nine points, and a massive 15 rebounds coming off the bench at point guard. Sascha Kappos was named as a tournament all-star, finishing with 20 points in the win, while Alex Carson was named the tournament's most valuable player following his 18 point, five rebound and three assist performance in the championship.