Barons bounce Laurier, E-Comm to win citys
With a grin the length of a Fokker triplane’s wingspan Kevin Blake says he is every bit as confident Oakwood Barons can reclaim OFSAA gold.
“I want to win another OFSAA medal,” he said.
Away from their St. Clair Avenue home for the AAAA championship semifinals, the Barons faced off against Wilfred Laurier Blue Devils, Feb. 17 at Northern Secondary.
On unfamiliar terrain against an untried opponent, the Barons were far from stifled. After four quarters, the blue and gold won 55-31 over Laurier.
Oakwood coach Anthony Miller was not concerned with scouting reports of the Blue Devils. He wanted his charges to know the game plan. He spoke with concern about their youth.
“We spent yesterday’s practice just going over our stuff,” he said. “We didn’t talk about what they do, we didn’t talk about their players, we just said we have to be better defensively.”
Gone from last year’s OFSAA team are Julian Clarke (playing hoops at NBA star Steve Nash’s alma mater Santa Clara), Mike Ranger and Jermaine Bernard.
However, Miller notes this year’s roster provides speed, with Blake, Isaiah Watkins, Sheldon Moore and Tyrell Green.
Blake led all Barons with 23 points, adding five boards. Green hit 13 points and crashed the backboard nine times. Watkins had seven points and Moore had four steals.
Out of the starting lineup, Troy Jackson was the only missing face. The point guard was absent, but Miller said his replacement, Xzennis Brereton, was ideal with two points, four boards and two steals.
“It’s always positive times when you can do a good job without one of your key guys,” Miller said.
On the other end of the court a humble Blue Devils coach, Tony Vallejo, lauded his opponents.
“Well-drilled, well-disciplined, very athletic,” he said. “I know they’re missing a few from last year but in every possession they were just dominant.”
The strategy for the Blue Devils against Oakwood was to implement the screen.
“We didn’t see them play well against screens in the past,” he said. “Our plan was to try to screen them to get advantage situations and it just didn’t turn out.”
Turning out the points for Laurier were Rajeehv McKinson with 13, and David Kamara, with 11.
“Our floor leader is actually David,” Vallejo said. “He didn’t get as many touches because Oakwood was a little more athletic than he was.”
It may be the end of the season for the Blue Devils, but Oakwood would renew their city rivalry with Eastern Commerce Saints Feb. 24 in the championship finals.
For Blake it would be sweet victory as the squad won 54-46, sending them to London, Ont. for AAAA OFSAA.