Titans uphill climb just got steeper

Tonnos' Melissa Tatti (11) is out for the season. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

Tonnos’ Melissa Tatti (11) is out for the season. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

The Bishop Tonnos Titans suddenly have a much greater mountain to climb.

If the Titans are going to advance any farther in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association senior girls’ high school basketball playoffs, they’ll have to do it without the services of all-star guard Melissa Tatti. According to Titans’ coach Mike Di Federico, Tonnos learned soon after its regular-season finale earlier this week at Cathedral that their veteran guard had likely suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

“Melissa has a pretty severe high ankle sprain,” Di Federico said after third-place Tonnos’s 49-29 quarter-final victory over the Bishop Ryan Celtics on Friday (Nov. 1). “It’s kind of a sad way to finish her high school career. But she’s moving on to Brock (University) next year and we wish her all the best.”

Di Federico says the loss of Tatti is “immense.” Two of the other league semi-finalists – St. Mary Crusaders and St. Thomas More Knights – are the defending Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association Triple A and Quad A champions, respectively. Tonnos will face More in the next round while first-place St. Mary takes on the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves.

“She’s one of the kids we expect to get hot,” Di Federico said of the former Blessed Sacrament club star who has excelled against top-level U.S. age-group competition. “When we were flying high (eight straight wins) she was hitting lots of threes for us. She orchestrates a lot of the offence.”

The Tonnos coach says there will be no pressure on his team going into Tuesday’s semi-finals. “We’ll be huge underdogs. We’ll have to give it everything we’ve got and win or lose walk away proud of our effort.”

Tonnos, which led 25-17 at the half against the Celtics, got 13 points apiece by Haley Bowie and Jackie Wilkinson. Jessica DeMarinis tossed in nine points and Bryanna Singh added seven.

Stephanie Sousa and Brittany Roberto netted nine and six points, respectively, for sixth-place Bishop Ryan.

The other quarter-finals saw Brebeuf eliminate Newman, 42-32, and St. Thomas More top Cathedral, 64-33.