Head coach Andrew Sergi says he couldn’t be happier about Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School senior boys basketball team’s performance at its first Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship.
“I’m so proud of them,” he said Tuesday, following the team’s 45-38 overtime victory over fourth-ranked St. Marguerite d’Youville in the OFSAA AAAA quarter-finals in Windsor. “I think most people who watched the way we played today would probably say that our defence made the difference and just really the whole work of our entire team – not even just the guys who were on the court, but even the guys on the bench. They were really engaged in the game and they did a great job for us.”
Cardinal Newman, who was seeded fifth heading into the tournament, beat 16th-ranked St. Brother Andre 73-52 and 15th-seeded Ursuline College 57-20 on Monday to earn its place in the quarter-finals.
The team battled No. 1 ranked St. Michael’s College in the semifinal Tuesday evening. Results were unavailable at press deadline.
Heading into the game, Sergi said Cardinal Newman would have to be at its best to win.
“We’ll have to play our best game of the year to beat St. Michael’s. They’re very good, they’re well coached,” he said. “They’re a very good team, but we definitely think we’ve got a shot. We’ll have to just go in and see what happens.”
Cardinal Newman lost to Holy Trinity 54-47 in the Golden Horseshoe Athletic Conference (GHAC) AAAA boys basketball championship on Feb. 26 at Holy Trinity; the game was only for OFSAA seeding purposes.
The team qualified for OFSAA after beating Loyola 69-42 in the GHAC AAAA boys basketball semifinals on Feb. 25 at Cardinal Newman.
Sergi said the team’s goal was to make it to OFSAA this season.
“I think part of establishing that goal was how our season ended last year. We won the championship last year, but then we ended up losing the GHAC championship to Holy Trinity, but last year GHAC only received one bid, so losing that game last year, I think put a sour taste in our mouths,” he said. “To finally reach that goal, even though someone might say we only got it because of extenuating circumstances, we don’t see it that way because we, over the course of the year, I think proved that we were one of the top teams in the province and we feel like we deserved this opportunity to go to OFSAA.”
Cardinal Newman captured the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association championship after defeating ACMT 49-38 in the final on Feb. 21 at McMaster University.
The team finished the regular season in first place with a 14-0 record.