After a prolonged period of inactivity, Daniel Dzierzawski has made a triumphant return to Hamilton high school senior boys’ basketball.
The transfer from Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School made his 2013-14 debut for the Cathedral Gaels at the fifth-annual Mark Walton Invitational tournament at Cathedral High School on Friday (Dec. 6). Eight teams are participating in the two-day event.
Representing Cathedral for the first time, Dzierzawski scored 21 points to help the Gaels edge Toronto’s Eastern Commerce Saints, 56-53. Later in the day, however, Cathedral lost 68-46 to another of the GTA’s top teams, the St. Marguerite d’Youville Panthers of Brampton. Dzierzawski netted 10 points in that contest.
“It’s an exciting day for me,” said Dzierzawski, a Grade 12 guard. “This is actually the first eligible day that I can play.”
Dzierzawski transferred from MacNab and the Hamilton public board in the second semester last year. He has only practised with Cathedral since then while sitting out a year.
“With the public board strike (work to rule) that was going on at MacNab, I thought this was the best fit for me,” he said. “I’m kind of rusty, but I’m working my way back into shape.”
Some others in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association this season who transferred from the city’s public high schools are Andrew Smoke of Cathedral (Sir John A. Macdonald), Goran Veselinovic of Cardinal Newman (Glendale) and Tristen Bromfield of Newman (Saltfleet District).
Said Cathedral coach Mark Maga: “Daniel had an outstanding first game. He adds another element to our team which will help us going forward.”
A steal by George Leitao set up Dzierzawski for a layup to put the Gaels up by two points against the Saints and Dylan Millar’s foul shot sealed it. A large and enthusiastic crowd of students from Cathedral attended the morning game. Walton, who coached Cathedral for 27 years from 1972-98 and led Gaels teams to Ontario high school championships in 1984, 1994 and 1998, was in attendance. He spoke to the Gaels in the locker room after their win.
“The student body was loud,” Maga said of the opener. “It was a great atmosphere. And it was very special to win in front of Mark Walton.”
Eastern Commerce has been an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations provincial powerhouse in recent years, capturing the Quad A title in 2002, ’03, ’04, ’05 and ’09.
“This morning, I think we took a lot of energy from the crowd,” Maga said. “In the second game, it had to come from within us and it didn’t happen. They (d’Youville) jumped all over us (leading 23-5 at the quarter). That’s a great team. We’ve got to learn to play two of those games in one day.”
Etobicoke’s Father Henry Carr Crusaders will play the d’Youville Panthers of Brampton in the championship final Saturday at 2:45 p.m. at Cathedral.
Henry Carr topped Oakville’s Holy Trinity Titans 76-41 before edging the Windsor Catholic Central Comets 66-65 on a driving layup with three seconds remaining by Ty Stewart-Nelson. The other victory for d’Youville was 57-38 over the St. Thomas More Knights.
The consolation final between Eastern Commerce and Cardinal Newman takes place at 11:35 a.m. Also on the schedule is a seventh-place game between More and Holy Trinity at 10 a.m., plus the third-place game matching Cathedral against Catholic Central at 1:10 p.m.
Catholic Central is the defending OFSAA Triple A champion. Newman won an OFSAA Quad A bronze medal last season.
Game 1 – Cathedral 56 (Daniel Dzierzawski 21, Donnel-Brey Shingiro 11) Eastern Commerce 53 (Trayvon Ross 12, Kadre Gray 11)
Game 2 – St. Marguerite d’Youville 57 (DamiAnn Prehay 12, Addy Ogonye 9) St. Thomas More 38 (Ryan Doornick 8, Xavier Ellis 7, Joel Clarke 7)
Game 3 – Father Henry Carr 76 (Girece Kazumba 15, Marcus Bonnick 14) Holy Trinity 41 (Ignas Brazdeikis 10, Etinosa Eguavoen 8, Lucas Orlita 8)
Game 4 – Catholic Central 58 (Isiah Familia 21, Nyong James 12) Cardinal Newman 47 (Tyler Brown 13, David McCulloch 13)
Game 5 – Eastern Commerce 56 (Kasey Morris 15, Trayvon Ross 11) St. Thomas More 49 (Jaylen Clarke 16, Joel Clarke 13)
Game 6 – St.Marguerite d’Youville 68 (Jerome Simpson 17, DamiAnn Prehay 16) Cathedral 46 (Dylan Millar 14, Daniel Dzierzawski 10, Kareem Kollins 8)
Game 7 – Cardinal Newman 58 (Tyler Brown 16, Marko Grahovac 13, Josh Nardini 12) Holy Trinity 41 (Chris Hankins 12)
Game 8 – Father Henry Carr 66 (Marcus Bonnick 19, Ty Stewart-Nelson 14, Anthony McNish 14) Catholic Central 65 (Isaiah Familia 21, Nyong James 12).