After stealing the ball near centre-court, Leaf Hogan raced in for an easy layup.   Tinkess Photo

CHESTERVILLE – The North Dundas District High School (NDDHS) Devils senior boys’ basketball team locked in first place and the right to host playoffs with a gritty 57-51 win over the Holy Trinity Falcons on Monday afternoon in Chesterville.

The Devils trailed only briefly in the first quarter, and once they took the lead, they never looked back. The bulk of the scoring was handled by Nephi Da Silva Moreira, who picked up 23 points while Leaf Hogan added 22.

Number 25, Z. Thompson, led the way for Holy Trinity with 25 points.

According to Coach Jevon Groves, the players put into practice the things they had been working on. “I think the defence that we practised really helped us to be victorious, especially this last game,” said Groves.  “We were focusing on the 1-3-1,  and I think they achieved what we were looking for them to do for the most part. I mean, there’s always going to be little mistakes or errors here and there that will cost us points, but I think for the most part, they did well with what we were going through in practice with them.”

In many ways, North Dundas is overachieving: They are an “A” school, and in many cases they are playing against “AA” schools. “We are very, very happy to be undefeated with a single “A” school,” said Groves. “So that’s always a big accomplishment, especially for North Dundas. It’s been a while since our senior boys have won and have been in first place in SDG.”

The sense of satisfaction wasn’t limited to the coaches either. “They (the players) seem pretty happy too, yeah, they do. They seem very proud,” admitted Groves. “I think they knew what they had to do today. We said if we won both games today (they defeated St. Lawrence in their morning game), then we would host the SDG playoffs and I think that’s really what they want to do. And as coaches as well, we don’t want to go somewhere else and have to play because then you’ve got to deal with their crowd and everything. It’s a different environment than playing at home.”

As a coach, you don’t want your team to get ahead of itself. You deal with the team on the floor with you and worry about the next game once you’ve finished this one. Still, with EOSSA (Eastern Ontario Secondary School Association) senior boys’ basketball being hosted by North Dundas, they must at least have thought about it, right?

“It would be nice,” said Groves.  “Like that was kind of our goal for the year, and we kind of set a couple of short-term ones as well, like end up first in SDG, and get to host SDG. Hopefully we can play as well as we did today and have a chance to win SDG, and to be in EOSSA with it being here. That’s always a risk when you host it because you may not necessarily be in it.”

There is still work to be done. One day at a time, one game at a time, but by finishing first and getting to host the SDG playoffs, they took a giant step towards that goal today.