Paget Berridge Selected by the Gazette and
Global TV as their Amateur Athlete Of The Week


Paget Berridge was a scoring machine as
Vanier erased big deficits.

Photo: Peter Martin, The Gazette

Berridge clicks in clutch
Vanier cager turns on second-half jets. But win in Hagen tourney not enough as he aims for provincial CEGEP title
By Arpon Basu, freelance / November 19, 2003

Paget Berridge has a lot of things going for him, but first and foremost, he's best served by his sense of timing. The third-year shooting guard for the Vanier College men's basketball team was named tournament MVP when the Cheetahs earned their first-ever victory in the Hagen Tournament a few weeks ago, and it was more than well-deserved.

Vanier - now ranked second in the country - erased huge second-half deficits against Ontario powerhouses Algonquin and Humber College en route to the tournament's championship game. Berridge was the leading cause of each of those comebacks, pouring in 21 second-half points against Humber and 24 in the second half against Algonquin.

Then, in the thrilling tournament final against Champlain St. Lambert, Berridge hit a game-tying three-pointer with 14 seconds left to cap a nine-point comeback in the last seven minutes and send the game into overtime, where Vanier prevailed 91-90.

"Some guys are afraid to take those shots," Vanier coach Andy Hertzog said, "but it doesn't faze him."

It was quite a way for the mild-mannered Berridge to begin his final year at Vanier, his first as a starter. But he doesn't enjoy being singled out from the rest of his team only because he was the one scoring all the big points.

"Everyone jokes about that now, how I'm a second-half player, but I don't know what it is," Berridge said with a laugh. "It wasn't just me, everyone was playing with a lot of heart. Nobody thought that we would have won all those games, but somehow we did."

Berridge has come a very long way in a very short period of time. He was mainly a soccer player growing up in Lachine and only started taking basketball seriously when he began playing at Sun Youth in Grade 11. Sun Youth coach Pat Sullivan initially cut Berridge, but Sullivan invited him back shortly after when he saw Berridge play in a junior-league game.
"Things would be totally different," Berridge said with a smile when asked where he would be without that second chance. "But I still have a lot to learn."

Among the things Berridge has already learned is a lightning-quick first step and an exceptional ability to finish in the paint that belies his modest 6-foot-2 frame.

"Every two or three games," Hertzog said, "he makes a play that no one else in the province can make."

While Berridge is proud of what he and his teammates have already achieved this season, he feels there is a lot of work left to be done after losing in last year's provincials to eventual champion Dawson.

"(The Hagen) is obviously a good tournament to win, but it still doesn't prove anything, because our goal is to win the provincials and go on to nationals," he said. "I think we can compete with anybody in the league, even beat anybody in the league."

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