(Halifax, NS) – In the third-place game of the Rod and Joan Shoveller Memorial Tournament, the Memorial Sea-Hawks squared off against the Cape Breton Capers. The bronze medal was decided from the free throw line with the Sea-Hawks taking the advantage to win 76-69.
It was a tough offensive start for both teams in first, with the Capers only hitting one of their first 11 shots. Both sides needed to make their living at the free throw line, with Jason Thompson (St. John's, NL) leading the Sea-Hawks to a slight advantage early. The shots finally started to fall for the Capers in the final minutes of the quarter, and with a great steal and score by Reuben Edwards with two seconds left, Cape Breton took a 15-13 lead into the second.
With outside shots still not falling, both teams continued to push the ball inside and earn trips to the line to pick up most of their scoring, with Thompson and Nathan Barker (Massey Drive, NL) being the beneficiaries of the slashing attacks. The Capers couldn't seem to get anything to fall from outside the paint, and the Sea-Hawks took advantage by going on a 12-0 run through most of the final five minutes of the half. Osman Omar (Mississauga, ON) was finally able to hit the first three of the game with just one minute to go in the half for the Capers, and as the whistle blew to end the quarter, they found themselves trailing 36-29.
Coming out of the half, the Capers attacked the rim with intensity, with Paul Watson (Mississauga, ON) earning trips to the line nearly every possession. Fouls piled up for both sides, with each team attempting 24 shots from the line by the third quarter, and three starters for the Sea-Hawks found themselves with four fouls. Holding the last possession of the quarter, Reuben Edwards made a great slash from the top of the key into the paint to finish a tough shot at the rim to bring the deficit down to 55-50 going into the fourth. Omar came out flying in the fourth quarter, taking on the length of the Sea-Hawks and finishing a few very athletic takes to the hoop. The Sea-Hawks countered at the other end by using that size to their advantage, with Nicholas Fowler (St. John's, NL) and Padraig Dawe (Paradise, NL) showing their strength in the paint.
The Capers put in a trap defence that forced turnovers at an opportune time, allowing them to run the floor for easy lay-ins from Omar and Edwards. The Sea-Hawks were able to settle back in on defence after a timeout, however, and Jason Thompson was able to slash to the middle and stop on a dime to hit a jumper and push his team back in front with just seconds left to go. The Capers called a timeout to move the ball up to half, but the jumpers from Omar and Edwards rattled out, and Nathan Barker was able to knock down the pair of free throws to ice it for the Sea-Hawks to take the win.
Osman Omar led the scoring for the Capers with 20 points to go with his 4 rebounds. For the Sea-Hawks, Jason Thompson led the way with 22 points, as well as adding 5 rebounds and 5 assists.