Vaughan Claims York Region Title In Front Of Sold Out Crowd
Published by Drew Ebanks on February 27, 2011
It was a standing room only crowd at Brother Andre C.H.S. on February 24, 2011 at the #1 Provincially ranked Vaughan Voyageurs faced off against the Denison Huskies in a rematch of the final from last year that Vaughan won 70-68 in overtime. As you may recall these two teams also battled it out at the St. Mike’s Invitational tournament in early January of this year. In that game Kevin Pangos was absolutely a beast scoring 48 pts on an array of long jumpers, threes, runners, floaters that had the Voyageurs scrambling to contain the future Gonzaga Zag. He was also able to find guys open for buckets with some sweet passing as well. Vaughan’s star Andrew Wiggins doesn’t have to do quite as much scoring for the Voyageurs as their team is one of the deepest in the province and features such players as Henry Tan, Troy Reid Knight and Roshane Roberts. Wiggins was not at Vaughan last year for that game against Denison so all this hype was new to the 16 year old phenom.
The buzz in the gym was palpalable…in fact the school organizers were considering locking the doors as more and more people wanted to witness history as two of Canada’s best prospects were going head to head for all the marbles. Had to be over 1000 people in the gym and they wouldn’t be disappointed! People were toting signs such as “Kevin Pangos will you marry me” and there were fans from both schools as well as others who I talked to who just came to the game to see what the hype was about and also to see if Denison could slay the bigger deeper Vaughan squad.
1st quarter started off with Pangos and Denison grabbing the early lead as Vaughan’s attempts at getting out on the fast break were futile due to poor passing and spacing leading to several turnovers. Pangos was very aggressive and was pushing it hard in transition using his quickness and stutter-steps to pretty much do what he wanted. Reid-Knight had the task of guarding him and made him work for all his buckets early. Denison led the game 17-12 after 1 as the Huskies played relaxed unlike Vaughan who seemed a little tight and I’m sure people were wondering if they were due for a letdown having gone 39-1(record-wise) up to that point in the season.
2nd qtr and Denison continued their strong play. Vaughan was taking bad shots and missing most of them too. Voyageurs’ coach Gymnopolous was pleading with his team to “move the ball” and play as a team as it seemed like each Vaughan player thought they could do it all by themselves. With 4 minutes left in the 2nd Denison led by five, 25-20 with Brett Zufelt getting buckets inside for the Huskies. Pangos continued to dominate at the point scoring on layups and jumpers over a defence that had all 5 players focused on him and where he was on the court at all times! Denison took a 36-30 lead into halftime and a change of strategy by the Vaughan coaching staff would be coming in the 2nd half. At halftime the ultra-aggressive Pangos lead all scorers with 14 pts and Zack Marcelline pitched in 8. Wiggins led Vaughan with 12 pts and Roshane Roberts scored a very efficient 12. In fact Roberts hit a couple tough buckets via layups and floaters to keep his squad close in the first half.
3rd quarter and Vaughan decided to put Wiggins on Pangos in order to slow him down a bit and limit his ability to shoot over his defender. The tactic was used by Vaughan at the St. Mike’s tournament(a Vaughan victory) and it had it’s desired effect in this game as well. Wiggins’ length bothered Pangos so much so that he tipped several passes and shot attempts by the star PG. Vaughan started to get their fast break going and led for the first time since early in the 1st 50-49 with 2:12 left. Both teams took turns leading until Vaughan’s Tan buried a three at the buzzer to put the Voyagers up 60-57 going into the 4th. Pangos had 30 points after 3 to lead all scorers.
4th quarter and Vaughan took control through strong defensive rebounding and interior presence from Aiddian Walters as well as fast break run outs by Tan and Wiggins who was a stellar 16-18 from the free-throw line in the game. Vaughan as a team was also a superb 31-34 from the line for the game. As the 4th wore on Vaughan cleaned up on the offensive glass which resulted in several put-backs and And-1s by the Voyageurs. Tan had it going late with a crossover move and right handed bucket that drew massive cheers from the crowd. Reid-Knight did his usual from deep hitting 2 clutch threes down the stretch as well. The deep Vaughan squad pulled away as Pangos tried in vain to get the Huskies back into it scoring a game-high 42 points! 2 minutes left and Vaughan led it 79-63 and the outcome was not in doubt. The final score was 92-75 Vaughan as they captured their 4th straight York Region title. In fact the Vaughan Jrs. also took the Junior title for the 3rd straight time so it looks like Vaughan will continue to be stacked with tremendous basketball talent going forward!
Andrew Wiggins didn’t get to dunk in the final…much to the disappointment of the fans in attendance. He had a couple speedy runouts but the Huskies were not having any highlight reel stuff and proceeded to foul Wiggins to prevent any fireworks. He scored 28 points to lead Vaughan. He showed again that he’s a tremendous all-around athlete by guarding Pangos for the 2nd half while registering several blocks in the game.
Kevin Pangos was stellar as usual with 42 points. He’s a deceptively quick point guard who is adept at putting his defender off balance and really can’t be guarded or stopped 1-on-1. His pull-up jumper and three-ball(5 threes) were going and his ability to change speeds and finish in traffic is tremendous.
Henry Tan showed a lot of potential in this game. He handled the ball flawlessly and found his teammates open for buckets. His crossover and hoop late in the ball game was indicative of the talent that he continues to improve on. He poured in 18 points in the final for Vaughan.
Brett Zufelt was solid inside for the Huskies, but seemed to fade in the 2nd half. He’s not overly talented but he’s not afraid of the dirty work amongst all the big bodies of Vaughan inside. He scored 13 points in a losing cause.