Haigmen glide into the playoffs

Titans offensive collapse in fourth led to a 50-28 loss

The Haigmen have seized first place for the playoffs with their Feb. 2 victory over York Mills Titans.

Clinching first in the North Region’s East Division in senior boys play with a 50-28 score was the ultimate goal for coach Eric James. But his team will now face a much stronger West Division opponent.

“We’re playing Downsview on (Feb. 4),” he said of their first playoff match. “Typically, the west side of our division is stronger, so that will be quite a challenge for our kids.”

James was optimistic his charges would answer the call, as they scored a season high against York Mills. They did not disappoint as they dominated Downsview 50-28.

“We’ve had trouble shooting the ball from the outside, so I’m happy we hit a few shots,” James said. “Hopefully their confidence will carry over to the next game and we can continue to improve on that.”

Some of the games shots came from Farbod Mohebi who had 20 points, 12 of which came from threes and the team’s captain.

“Our big kid Valentin Crainic came out and sort of established a local presence for us,” he said.

Initially the game was closer in the first two quarters, as Earl Haig only led 19-15 at the half.

The initial close match was all due to the Titans being on the verge of elimination, said coach Denny Lee.

With their playoff hopes in the balance, a win would have had them play spoiler in the Haigmen’s pursuit of first. In the fourth however, too many fouls proved costly for York Mills as Earl Haig pulled away with an 11-3 run.

The loss was due to lack of practice for the Titans, Lee said.

“I think it was the big lay-over,” he said. “The kids haven’t been actively touching a basketball for the last two weeks because we just had exams and moratoriums.”

Still, Lee gave shout-outs to his key performer Tre Eli as being the team’s rock this season.

“He’s been our most consistent player this year and next year we’re expecting a lot of leadership from him not just from a skill perspective but off-the-court to bring out the potential,” he said.

As for 2009-10 it’s been a rebuilding year for the seniors. But the entire roster will be back for 2010-11.

“We’ve had a tough season this year,” Lee said. “We had no returning starters from last year, so these guys are all grade 11 and we’re trying to build that team chemistry slowly together.”

The season is not entirely over for York Mills. They attended a basketball tournament at Upper Canada College Feb. 6 and 7. Their results were not known at press time.

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