March 22, 2004

Our AA men's team won their Regional championship this past weekend at Lionel-Groulx College in Ste-Therese. In their first game, they beat a tough Montmorency team 88-75. The first half went back and forth, with our guys taking a 1 point lead into halftime. The game remained close until the 4th quarter, when our stifling defence led to a run and forced Momo to take a time out. Montmorency countered with a full court press, but we executed our press break to perfection, and got some easy baskets. This win assured them of a berth in the Provincial championships.

In our second game, the AA men led Abitibi from start to finish, and blew them out by a score of 103-74. In the final, our AA men posted another easy victory, beating Dawson 80-63.

It was a very impressive win for our AA team, particularly since they were missing head coach Bengi Vidicek and assistant Julia Marta, who were both occupied with the birth of their first child - Markus Ivan Vidicek. Markus weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces at birth, and both he and mother Julia are doing fine. Assistant coaches Mark Miller and Sam Worrell led the AA team to the regional championship in the absence of the proud new parents.

Our AA team now has 2 weeks to prepare to defend their Provincial championship, in Sorel.

Our AAA men's team was in Kamloops, British Columbia this past week for the CCAA national championships. Our first game was against defending champion NAIT from Edmonton, and it was a classic. We fell behind by 14 in the first half, but rallied and cut the deficit to 3 at the half. The second half was back and forth, and we did take the lead by 3 after a few minutes. But NAIT came back and took the lead again.

Finally, we were down 1 with 20 seconds left, when we missed on a drive. NAIT recoveed the ball and we had to foul them. They made their 2 foul shots, leaving us down by 3. We had 4 3-point shooters on the court to try to tie the game along with our big man (Jerreh Saidybah), and of all people Jerreh hit a 3 with about 3 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

Unfortunately, we were a bit shorthanded, with 5 of our guys fouling out, and we eventually lost 110-105 in overtime. We had trouble adjusting to a very different style of officiating (our refs were all from B.C.), and the fouls in the 2nd half and overtime were 27-13 against us. Dwayne Buckley was named our Player of the Game, scroing 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Jerreh had 25 points and 13 rebounds. Paget Berridge had 15 points, and Adrian Sapp had 14 points (he was named the Sub of the Game). Damian Buckley had 10 points and 6 assists.

The NAIT game really took a lot out of us, and we lost our next game to Sheridan, 72-66. Our kids played hard, and we played all 12 guys, to make sure everyone had the experience of playing at the Nationals, but we had trouble shooting the ball, but we did not have the same jump as in the first game. Adrain Sapp was our leading scrorer with 16 points, and he added 4 steals. He was both our Player of the Game and Sub of the Game. Damian Buckley had 14 points and 5 assists. Dwayne Buckley had 13 points and 7 rebounds.

We rebounded in our final game to beat Ontario champion Fanshawe 80-68. Once again we played all 12 guys, and we got good contributions from everyone. We took a 12-point lead in the first half, but leb by only 6 at halftime. We fell behind ny 4 in the 2nd half, but rallied and took control of the game. Dwayne Buckley was our Player of the Game, with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Damian Buckley had 19 points and 8 assists. Jerreh Saidybah had 12 points and 5 rebounds. Adrian Sapp was once again our Sub of the Game, with 8 points.

Although our 7th place finish was not what we had hoped for, our kids represented Vanier extremely well. They played hard and showed class throughout. I am very proud of their efforts, not only at the Nationals but all season long. We had a great season and accomplished some great things. Although we will be losing many of our key players, I am looking forward to building on our success next season.

We were not the only ones disappointed. Champlain St. Lambert, the number 1 seed, lost to St. Thomas of New Brunswick in the semifinal by 1 in a heartbreaker, and then they lost their final game to Sheridan by 29 to finish in 6th position.

Finally, a reminder that AA alum Greg Davis will be having 2 readings from his novel Digging for Philip this week in Montreal. He will be at the Vanier College Amphitheatre on Wednesday at noon, and at the Double Hook Book Store on Greene Avenue Thursday evening at 7:30.

Best regards,
Andy Hertzog