A year ago, Cohen Patterson, Seamus Lyon and Carlos Ponton-Arndt of the Tantramar Titans boys varsity basketball team sat courtside at Harbour Station for the NBIAA final.
That trip fostered a burning desire in the trio to do everything they could to take in this year’s finals, not as spectators but as players on the floor. They committed long hours over the summer in the Mount Allison gym, honing their craft and developing their skills, while getting buy-in from their teammates to do the same.
This past Saturday, the Titans stood centre court at Harbour Station as New Brunswick high school varsity boys AA champions after defeating the Ecole Sainte-Anne Castors of Fredericton in a thrilling 76-72 victory.
Patterson, Lyon and Ponton-Arndt were instrumental in the win but this was truly a team win with every Titan player stepping up and leaving it all on the floor.
ESA came out strong and took a first-quarter lead, 22-15. The explosive Titans have earned a reputation as bending but not breaking and came out firing in the second quarter, outscoring the Castors 31-17 to close out the half up 46-39. The Titans knew the second half would be a battle. Tantramar dominated the rebounds behind the leadership of big men Lucas Cormier, Dashiel Edson, Chase Clayton, and outstanding boxouts and rebounds by Andrew Hess, taking away second-chance points from ESA. After three quarters, the Titans were up 64-56.
Guard Logan Reid did an incredible job as a super pest, locking in on ESA’s top player and limiting his opportunities all game long. Daniel Gaudreault played strong on the defensive side, keeping ESA from getting into the paint. When Cormier fouled out in the fourth it was unsung hero Adryon Thompson who rose to the occasion and made several key plays to secure the win.
He out-hustled everyone on the floor, getting two steals and four offensive rebounds. He was also perfect from the free-throw line in four attempts.
It was the Titans all-star backcourt duo of Patterson and Lyon that were the steady hands on the tiller throughout. Patterson led all Titans with 16 points, seven rebounds and constant leadership throughout. Lyon had 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds and was named player of the game. Cormier ended the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Reid had nine points, with Gaudreault, Thompson and Edson adding four and Chase Clayton two.
Owen O’Neal, Jason Wilson and rookie Luc Swanson were instrumental in the Titans getting to the championship. Not to be forgotten, Ponton-Arndt was one of the biggest heroes of the game with great defence and nine points off his smooth shooting stroke. When Lyon fouled out with three minutes left a lot of Titan fans got nervous, but it was Ponton-Arndt who stepped up to fill his shoes.
In the final 30 seconds the Titans held on to a 73-70 lead when Thompson missed a shot from the side, but out-hustled everyone to get his own rebound. The ball worked back to Patterson who attacked the paint and drew in the defenders before passing it out to a wide open Ponton-Arndt who calmly drained a three-pointer and sealed the fate of ESA and locked in the championship win.
The win gives the Titan varsity boys their first N.B. high school basketball championship banner since the 2006-2007 season.