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Orillia Lakers novice boys win silver at provincials

Local squad saves its best basketball of the year for provincials
The Orillia Lakers novices netted a silver medal at the provincial championships. In the back row, left to right: Coach Angus Roy, Andrew Roy, Nicholas Weiler, Mason Van Iersel, Nathan Litherland, William Lepage, James French, Coach Mark Meeks and Coach Galen Plett. Middle row: Zach Meeks, Enver Burton, Emerson Hoffman and Takoda Plett. Front row: William Tibbett, Scott Barkley. (Photo credit: Dale Plett)

The Brechin Dental Orillia Lakers novice boys came home from the provincial championships in London with a silver medal in their division thanks to a consistently strong defensive effort.

The Lakers started off with a 32-24 win over the Grimsby Grizzlies. Andrew Roy and Scott Barkley dominated the interior as the Lakers out-rebounded the Grizzlies. Nicholas Weiler provided the spark to the offence by getting into the lane and regularly finding open teammates.

In the second game, the Lakers took on Scarborough and faced intense pressure from the speedy Blues. The defensive battle turned on six-for-six free throws from James French and Nathan Litherland in the third quarter, resulting in a Lakers' win of 27-19.

The third game turned into a semi-final since the Whitby Wildcats also came into the game undefeated. From the first few possessions, the Lakers frustrated the Wildcats’ five-out offence. The Lakers jammed cutters and demonstrated great help position on drives. When one player helped, the others help with the rebounds. The Lakers were never behind and pulled away late in the game to win 28-15.

In the final, the Lakers faced Sudbury Jam, the largest team the boys had faced all season. Just a month earlier Sudbury made the final at IEM while the Lakers went one for three. It was a tough matchup, but the Lakers didn’t give any ground.

Sudbury clogged the key and took away any opportunities for the Lakers’ patented back-door plays. The bigger Jam pushed the Lakers around on rebounds and didn’t give many second chances. But thanks to an incredible defensive effort, the Lakers only trailed 8-6 at half.  

In the second half, the Lakers adjusted to get the ball into the post more, and Takoda Plett used the adjustment to set up Andrew Roy for two quick hoops right off the bat. Nicholas Weiler followed with an and-1 bucket on a drive to put the Lakers up 13-8.

Things bogged down on both sides again. The Lakers trailed 18-16 going into the fourth quarter. Scott Barkley hit one of two free throws to bring the Lakers within a point.

The team’s pressure defence created multiple late turnovers, and great drives by Zach Meeks, William Tibbett, and James French just failed to fall in the last minute.

Although the Lakers fell short by a point with a final score of 18-17 for Sudbury, the boys played their best basketball of the year. They held their last three opponents to under 20 points and moved up two divisions from last year to proudly claim the silver medal.




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