Sacred Heart’s Halo Dome played host to an exhibition basketball tournament this past weekend. A tournament that saw both the YRHS Raiders and SHHS Saints Senior Boys basketball teams finish with a 2-1 record.
And while the tournament was held mainly for experience purposes, one game still had a little more at stake: Pride. The opening contest of the tournament had the host Saints taking on the Orange Machine from down the road, the YRHS Raiders.
This time the Saints got the better of their long-time rivals handing the Raiders a shocking 55-54 overtime loss thanks to a combination of 19 points from both Carter Ruff and Jaedon Pellatt (3-for-5 from three point range), as well as the lack of accurate shooting by the Raiders offense.
“We shot 22%,” said Raiders Head Coach Jason Payne. “It’s tough to win a basketball game when you shoot 22%, especially when you turn the ball over a lot.”
Payne also gave credit to the Saints offence for succeeding where his team did not. “Full credit to Garrett’s (Garrett Karcha, Saints Head Coach) kids, they hit big shots at big moments. That’s what it takes to win.”
However, not everything came up Saints on Friday. Saints star David Ojo (eight points, 14 rebounds) left the game against the Raiders with a lower body injury and did not return.
Hoops on Saturday
Both the Raiders and Saints were back in action on Saturday at Sacred Heart. The Raiders took out their frustration on the Melville Cobras in their first game of the day, dominating their opponents all game long en route to a 65-34 victory to improve their record to an even 1-1.
The second game of the day for the Raiders was against the Kinistino Blues and while the feisty Blues team hung around for most of the first half, in the second half fatigue seemed to take a toll on the undermanned Kinistino club. The Raiders, meanwhile, had a full bench and were able to rotate fresh men into the game all the time resulting in a 74-53 Raiders victory and a final record of 2-1.
While most basketball teams opt to keep their stars on the floor as much as possible, Payne’s approach was different, enabling his team to put forth a blue collar effort and win with an offence by committee approach, something he says his team has done all season long so far. “It’s something we’ve been doing so far. I think we have a lot of kids who have some skill and we want to see how they do,” said Payne following his team’s victory over Kinistino. “With a young team everybody has to play or they’re not going to get any better.”
Sacred Heart also had two games on Saturday but could not capitalize on their momentum from Friday.
Fresh off their 55-54 upset victory over the Raiders, the Saints themselves fell victim to an underdog team. The Kinistino Blues walked in to the Halo Dome and handed the Ojo-less Saints a 66-47 setback dropping the Saints record to 1-1. If the loss wasn’t bad enough, the Saints also lost sharpshooter Jaedon Pellatt to an undisclosed injury, meaning the Saints now had two of their top players unavailable for their final game against Melville.
Missing two of their top stars and coming off their first loss of the tournament, it seemed as if the Saints might be in trouble against a Melville team with nothing to lose. However Carter Ruff put his team on his shoulders and carried them to a close 54-51 victory with a monstrous 31 point, seven rebound performance highlighted by a clutch three-pointer that gave the Saints a 39-37 lead early in the fourth quarter; a lead they did not give up the rest of the way.
Following the game, Saints Head Coach Garrett Karcha acknowledged the brilliant performance Ruff put forth, saying. “Carter (Ruff) played really well. I think he kind of understood that with Ojo and Pellatt out that it was time for him to pick his game up a little bit. Sometimes he tried to do a little too much but overall he had a great game.”
The Saints second win of the tournament was overshadowed by yet another injury however, as Jared Buzinski left the game after injuring his ankle.
With the injuries piling up the Christmas break cannot come soon enough, but luckily for the Saints, they don’t play again until the New Year. “This was our last game before the Christmas break,” mentioned Karcha, continuing, “hopefully through Christmas break we’ll get healthy. I mean, we don’t play again until January 10th.”
The Jr. Saints boys also hosted an exhibition tournament at the Halo Dome on the weekend. The Junior Saints fell to Melville St. Henry’s 37-33 before rebounding to hand the Melville Jr. Cobras a 59-51 loss.