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The life lessons of U11 provincials

Sudbury Jam boys edged by one point in bronze medal game
The Sudbury Jam U11 boys were competitive throughout the Basketball Ontario provincials last weekend, losing out in the bronze medal game by just one point. (File)

Entering play as the number one seed is not always the ideal situation.

Struggling with the last minute juggling in the rankings that would see the team bumped from the Basketball Ontario Division 5 grouping down one level lower, albeit as the top ranked team in Division 6, the Sudbury Jam U11 boys encountered some challenges at provincials last weekend.

Kicking things off against the St. Catharines Rebels, the Jam quickly realized that the gap between divisions might well be a slim one, watching an early 12-point lead evaporate in the latter stages of the game. With just five seconds remaining, Bradley Cothill delivered with a basket, for Sudbury, that would send the game to overtime.

Unfortunately, the local lads were unable to sustain the momentum of the late bucket, dropping a 41-38 decision to the Rebels. Still in tough opposite the Pelham Panthers, the Jam led for the entire game, improving to 1-1 in round robin play thanks to a 44-39 victory.

Beginning to show the potential the coaches had hoped to see right from the start of provincials, the Sudbury crew were locked in during a 51-33 triumph over Markham. The Jam, however, needed some help to advance to a gold medal match-up.

That possibility disappeared when St. Catharines slipped past Pelham (53-51), relegating the northern squad to a bronze medal battle with the Cambridge Centaurs. Despite an early season eight-point win over Cambridge, the Jam were careful not to take the Centaurs for granted, given their weekend experience.

Once again, the contest would come right down to the wire, as Cambridge edged Sudbury 38-37. 

"Sports creates opportunities for learning real life lessons, and the opportunities for learning were abundant over the weekend," said head coach Josh Brohart.

"The disappointment over the weekend has created a greater hunger in the boys to be better and build upon a season that was a tremendous success. We look forward to next season and all of the lessons that it will hold."

The 2018-2019 edition of the Sudbury U11 Jam was comprised of Michael Seccaspina, Michael Folino, Sullivan Smith, James Mongeon, Cade Kirwan, Ralph Belzile, Ethan Dobson, Dylan Nelson, Bradley Cothill, Ian Ziegler, Tyce Dewar, Judah Brohart and Gabriel Larocque.