Crusaders shut down Titans to remain unbeaten


Macbeth Madziba (5) sinks a basket, as St. Mary shutdown Bishop Tonnos. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

Macbeth Madziba (5) sinks a basket, as St. Mary shutdown Bishop Tonnos in the 4th quarter for the win. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

Senior boys’ high school basketball teams aren’t going to win many games by scoring just three points in a quarter.

That was the offensive production of the Bishop Tonnos Titans during their 57-41 loss to the visiting St. Mary Crusaders on Thursday (Nov. 28). The Crusaders went on an 18-3 run down the stretch to break open the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association contest which St. Mary led by one point after three quarters.

With the victory, St. Mary improved to 2-0. It was the season opener for Tonnos.

Elsewhere, the defending champion Cardinal Newman Cardinals evened their record at 1-1 with a 60-44 decision over the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves (1-1) and the St. Thomas More Knights (1-1) defeated the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 54-33. The loss dropped the Celtics to 0-2.

“When you score three points in the fourth quarter, that’s attributed to them working hard and wearing us down,” Tonnos coach Luc DiDiomede said. “They’re a well-coached, disciplined team. When they play defence like that it’s tough to score. They’re a quality squad. They dictated the game.”

Tonnos has a young lineup and, according to DiDiomede, the team will have to adjust to the loss of several veteran big players from last year’s squad. St. Mary, in comparison, has a more veteran lineup with a pair of athletic 6-foot-4 post players.

“We’ll have some growing pains,” DiDiomede said, “but it’s going to be fun to watch. I think we can do OK. We’ll be in the middle of the pack.”

Veteran Adrian Browne scored 15 points for the Titans – five three-point baskets, all during the first three quarters. Guard Adam Carnicelli added 12 second-half points for Tonnos.

The top point-getter for the Crusaders was Mathew Elcock, who poured in 26 points.

“He works hard on his shot all year round,” St. Mary coach Pat Papalia said of Elcock, “and it shows in the game.”

Back-to-back mid-range jump shots by Elcock broke a 39-39 tie. And 10 of his points came in the final quarter.

Veteran Mathew Elcock (4) led St. Mary with 26 points, delivering 10 in the final quarter.  (Photo: Gerry Graham)

Veteran Mathew Elcock (4) led St. Mary with 26 points, delivering 10 in the final quarter. (Photo: Gerry Graham)

“We definitely started competing and playing on defence,” Elcock said of the Crusaders finishing kick.

Said DiDiomede: “Elcock is a stellar player. Hats off when a kid can shoot like that. Nothing beats veteran leadership.”

Brandon Francois Jean-Pierre added 11 points for the Crusaders, while his teammates Shawn Carey and Macbeth Madziba chipped in with nine and seven points, respectively.

“If we could guarantee we would play like we did for that five minute stretch in the fourth quarter, we would be a good team,” Papalia said.

In its game at Brebeuf, Newman was led by guard David McCulloch’s 14 points. Rommel Calura replied with 11 for the Braves.

At Bishop Ryan, the Knights got 19 points by Xavier Ellis and 10 by Jaylen Clarke. The top score for the Celtics was Chris Lloyd, with nine.