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Bishop Macdonell Celtics preserve perfect D10 season with championship win

Centre Wellington captures junior crown for its first ever title

The Bishop Macdonell Celtics shook off the pressure of preserving an undefeated season to claim their second District 10 senior boys' basketball championship title in four years.
"It's more (pressure) than being the underdog, for sure," Bishop Mac captain Chris Poloniato said. "If you're the underdog and you lose it's no big deal, but if you're undefeated and you lose, it's a big upset and we didn't want that to happen to us. We had a lot of pressure on ourselves.
"We just tried our best not to worry about it and have some fun."
The Celtics dropped the John F. Ross Royals 60-36 in Saturday night's final at the Mitchell Athletics Centre.
Bishop Mac had finished the regular season at 14-0 while Ross was a distant second at 9-5.
"Our team had been preparing a long time for this, even before we knew who it was going to be (against)," Poloniato said. "We knew if we played well, we could handle any team in District 10 so we just came out and did what we knew we could do and executed and it worked out."
After the teams struggled to find their scoring range in the first four minutes of the championship game, Bishop Mac jumped to a 12-6 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Celtics stretched the advantage to 29-18 at halftime and 46-31 after the third quarter.
"At the beginning I think the nerves of both teams showed a little bit," Bishop Mac coach Trevor Smith said. "They played great and we just kind of keep going and we did that today. They went on a couple of good runs and we were able to answer, which was huge for us. It never goes the way it was planned. Coach Andy (Chaput) and myself both looked at each other and said 'They never make it easy,' but that's a testament to how Ross played."
Chris Poloniato, Bishop Mac's player of the game, led the Celtics with 23 points while Jake Chaput had 15 and Lukas Wood and Jack Olsen collected six apiece.
"His teammates found him when he was open and he was able to find his teammates and get open without the ball a lot," Smith said of Polionato. "We try to stress not to dribble too much and I think he did a great job of that today. Just his anticipation - his and Jake Chaput's anticipation on defence got them so many steals. They do that in practice a lot so when those two get together, nothing surprises me."
Harris Cornett led Ross with nine points while Curtis Gordon had seven and Jake Grant collected six. Daniel Street was the player of the game for Ross.
Both teams entered the D10 final knowing that they'd be competing at CWOSSA championship tournaments Thursday and Friday. Bishop Mac is to play in the AA tournament at Cambridge while Ross is to compete in the AAA tournament at Waterloo.

The Centre Wellington Falcons of Fergus struck for their first D10 junior boys' basketball title when they defeated the St. James Lions 66-46 Saturday night at the Mitchell Athletics Centre.
The Falcons held quarter leads of 14-9, 36-16 and 51-41 on their way to the win.
Cole Newton connected for 29 points for Centre Wellington while Zach Cudmore had 26 and John Barclay added eight.
Alex Garbuio hit for 14 points for St. James and was followed by Joshua Mencfeld with 12 and Aidan Feeney with seven.
Newton was player of the game for the Falcons while Garbuio won the award for the Lions.
Both teams advance to CWOSSA championship tournaments Thursday and Friday as Centre Wellington will be in the AAA tournament at Waterloo and St. James will be in the AA tournament at Cambridge.