Looking to make amends for an early NOSSA exit one year ago, the Lasalle Lancers appear to be as ready for a playoff run as they will ever be.
Two weeks ago, the local boys basketball powerhouse captured their third event of the season, claiming the 50th Annual Zenon Ziemba Boys Basketball Tournament with a run of five straight wins in Timmins, before travelling south to compete in the Wayne Nugent Classic in Woodbridge this past weekend.
Playing games at O'Gorman High School, E.S. Theriault and Northern College, the three-time defending city champs bounced both the Franco Cite Patriotes from Sturgeon Falls (73-28) and the Kapuskasing Kolts (81-13) in pool play, stopped the White Pines Wolverines of Sault Ste. Marie (64-57) in the quarter-finals, vanquished the Lo-Ellen Park Knights (58-46) in the semis, before besting the Timmins High Blues (36-30) in the championship affair.
Lasalle's Andrew Middleton was named tournament MVP and joined on the all-star team by teammate Liam LaPierre, as well as Jacob Schweyer of Lo-Ellen.
Franco-Cite would overcome their game one loss to Lasalle, defeating, in succession, Kapuskasing (62-41), the St. Charles College Cardinals (75-64), and the College Notre-Dame Alouettes to garner the consolation banner.
In junior play in Timmins, the St. Igantius Falcons from Thunder Bay slipped past Lo-Ellen to claim top spot in the younger ranks, while the Theriault Flammes upended CND in the consolation affair.
Dax Mazzuchin of Lo-Ellen cracked the all-star lineup, joined by Mike Tavers (Algonquin - NB), Kim Ben (St Ignatius), Michael Ferlaino (White Pines) and Jeff Sweitzer (St Ignatius), the latter also recognized as junior division MVP.
Heading to Woodbridge just a week later, the Lancers opened with victories over both the host Woodbridge College Wyverns (79-63) and the Stephen Lewis Sharks from Vaughan (58-56), earning that second win thanks to a three-point basket with 0.6 seconds showing on the clock.
Relegated to the third place showdown following a 68-51 setback at the hands of the Frontenac Falcons from Kingston, the Lasalle lads got the better of the Maple Timberwolves (79-62) in the bronze medal affair, returning to Sudbury as SDSSAA post-season play kicks off on Monday.