Saints march to victory at Southridge-hosted hoops event

Southridge Storm’s Harrison Hughes drives to the hoop against St. John’s Ravenscourt last week. - Nick Greenizan photo
Southridge Storm’s Harrison Hughes drives to the hoop against St. John’s Ravenscourt last week.
— image credit: Nick Greenizan photo

The winner of last week’s 2014 U13 Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Boys Basketball Tournament was never really in doubt.

On Saturday at Southridge School – host site of the national Grade 7 tournament – Vancouver’s St. George’s Saints cruised to a 33-23 victory over Upper Canada College (Toronto) in the event’s championship game.

The game was not as close as the score would appear, either, as the Torontonians narrowed the gap once St. George’s took its starting lineup out of the game with a substantial lead.

The Saints – who also won it all in 2013, and have 12 titles since 1993 – never lost throughout the three-day tournament.

“It was no surprise. They were No. 1 coming in, and they have size, and skill. They’re just very, very good,’ said Southridge athletic director James Porpaczy, one of the tournament’s organizers alongside Kirby Gallant.

Southridge, meanwhile, accomplished its goal of finishing among the top eight in the 16-team event.

“We went 3-0 to start, and… we had a shot to get to the semifinals, but we lost a couple tight games, one to Collingwood and another by one point to (Montreal’s Lower Canada College),” Porpaczy explained.

Away from the court, the tournament earned rave reviews from visiting teams, Porpaczy said, as visitors were impressed with the gym’s atmosphere, which included announcers and a live band that entertained the crowd.

The school also live-streamed video of the games online, which “went off without a hitch.” A parent, as well as a BCIT broadcast student, handled much of the play-by-play duties, but Southridge students got into the act, as well.

“We had people who watching online, and they called the school asking who the kids were, because they were doing such a great job,” Porpaczy said.

“I guess with all those years of watching sports on TV, some of them picked it up pretty quick.”

One key aspect of the tournament was the billeting system, as visiting players stayed with Southridge families rather than in a hotel.

Porpaczy has little doubt at least a few bonds were formed as a result.

“A lot of them will probably still keep in touch. I see it at the high school level – guys who still keep in touch with their billets from back in Grade 7, so that’s really neat,” he said.

“You never know when you’re going to run into each other again. Maybe in high school, or maybe even university.”

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