By Brent Sabino

March 8, 2005

The Vanier College Men’s AAA Basketball Cheetahs captured the Provincial Championship this past weekend at Collège Montmorency in Laval.

Thanks to their first place finish in the league standings, the Cheetahs had a bye in the first round on Friday. As a result, they had to face in Saturday’s semi-final a red-hot Ste-Foy team, who had defeated Montmorency in a quarter-final match-up and had gone undefeated in the winter semester, including a January win over the Cheetahs.

Ste-Foy jumped out to an early 7-0 advantage and led the entire first half, holding a 49-37 lead at halftime. In a see-saw second frame, Vanier trailed 57-43 at one point before going on a 10-0 run to narrow the gap 57-53. The Cheetahs moved to within 4 points on a few occasions but a determined Ste-Foy squad kept pulling ahead until Vanier went on an 8-0 run on their way to a thrilling 88-84 triumph. James Lee had a huge game for the victors with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots while Nathan Grant put forth a tremendous effort off of the bench with 17 points. Colson Sénat notched 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots and Mark D’Agostino picked up 11 points in the win.

Vanier then took on Champlain in the Sunday final. The Cheetahs were ahead 36-23 at the half before their opponents cut their lead to 46-42. Vanier then went on a 12-2 run to put the game out of reach and capture the Provincial title with a 75-59 triumph. Colson Sénat held the hot hand for the Cheetahs with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Nathan Grant had yet another tremendous game off the bench with 13 points and 5 rebounds while Adrian Sapp contributed 11 points, 7 assists and 4 boards in the championship clinching triumph. James Lee poured in 10 points and did a terrific defensive job on the league’s leading scorer, who he held to two first half points.

The Cheetahs, coached by Andy Hertzog with assistants Bengi Vidicek and Dave Hodge, are off to the Nationals next week in Edmonton. The Vanier roster includes Ashley Oziegbe, Alexis Him, Lerry Williams, Louis-Nicolas Imbeau, Adrian Sapp, Nathan Grant, Germaine Young, Oliver Borenstein, James Lee, Sean Cyrus, Olivier Dupiton, Mark D’Agostino, Greg Page, Mathieu Lord and Colson Sénat. The manager is Ali Shirmohameddi. The athletic therapist is Phil Saucier and the head athletic therapist is Sean Christensen.

Coach Hertzog cuts the net
(click for larger version)

The Women’s AAA Cheetahs were defeated 58-50 by Ste-Foy in quarter-final action at the Provincials. The ladies took a 10-point lead at the half but were overcome by Ste-Foy in the second frame. The Lady Cheetahs put forth a terrific effort and had a great season. Congratulations to the players and the coaching staff.

At the awards banquet held on March 5th during the Provincial Championships, Dranadia Roc of our women’s team was named a provincial first team all-star, an All-Canadian and winner of the Al Silverman award as Player of the Year in Quebec. Congratulations to Dranadia on those very deserving honours. Get the whole story.

Elsewhere, in exhibition AA play, the Cheetahs outlasted the Dawson Community juvenile team 89-78. Trailing by 10 points in the first half, the Cheetahs rallied to knot the game at 44-44 at the half before taking a third quarter lead on their way to the win. Saad Beg and Cory Binning paced Vanier with 12 points apiece while Joel Borges and Jomo Johnson each chalked up 11 points. The Cheetahs play their last regular season game before the playoffs this coming Thursday at Ahuntsic.