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The Nobleton Public School Junior Boys' basketball team had a very successful season, culminating in two championship titles.
They began their season in April and it was apparent from the onset that they were going to be a talented team, made up of character players that were willing to work hard, and work together to improve every chance they were together. But no one, including players, coaches and parents from this small school, could have guessed that these skills and work ethic would result in both a Central Area Championship and then a York Regional Championship.
The team identity from the onset was speed. This included moving the ball in transition, driving the net, and most importantly ball distribution. All players on the team memorized and executed plays that were designed to utilize their speed. Through the course of the year, there was also a focus on defence. All players on the team were committed to improving in these two areas. The boys went undefeated through a series of exhibition games and tournaments.
They were victorious in The Nobleton P.S. Invitational Tournament, the 16th Avenue Public School Invitational Tournament, and two King City invitational tournaments.
After winning all of these tournaments, which included upwards of 30 games, they went into their Central Area Tournament riding a high, but the team remained humble, and realized that it was going to be a challenge to try and win the Central Area Junior Basketball Championship. However, throughout the season, the boys had managed to make adjustments in both ends of the court to stifle teams defensively, and to create offence, and the area tournament was no exception.
Despite playing very competitive teams in the round robin, they remained undefeated in their pool. The most important lessons of sport, such as respect, discipline, sacrifice, and work ethic truly paid off in the semi-finals and finals. Some players had to be willing to change their role or focus so that the team could be successful. Some players had to come off the bench and face difficult match-ups and make sure they followed through with their assignments on both offence and defence. But once again the team did not waver or lose focus. Instead they seemed to thrive on the pressure, and they all demonstrated an unwillingness to lose. In every game, different players played important roles that led to the victory, and the entire team celebrated as one.
Nobleton Public School faced Devins Drive Public School in the semi-finals. It was a see-saw battle, and there was never more than a two-point lead throughout most of the game. The second half saw two top players from both teams foul out with only a few minutes left in the game. The depth of the Nobleton team helped them prevail in the final minutes to surge ahead and win by 8 points.
They advanced to the finals to face a strong team from Hartman Public School. Once again different players stepped up in both ends of the court and Nobleton rolled to their first Central Area Championship in more than 12 years.
The Central Area Junior Boys title was an incredible accomplishment and this qualified the team for the York Regional Junior Boys Basketball Championship. Players and coaches were now in unchartered territory and did not know what to expect. Facing the best of the best in all of the York Region District School Board did not seem to phase the team. They went into each game as they had done all season long. They stuck to the game plan, and supported each other in every situation and in every game.
Once again the team continued to roll through another round robin undefeated, and as they advanced to the final four, the team, both players and coaches stayed focused on the task at hand and the semi-finals were no exception. The boys were successful in their semi-final game, and advanced to play a much taller team from L.H. Frechette Public School.
It was size vs. speed in the York Regional Junior Boys Basketball Championship. The boys dictated the pace of the game in the finals, and took away the Frechette offence by taking away their pass to the low post. With defensive steals leading to baskets in transition, the Nobleton team took a commanding lead in the game. It did not seem real until the final seconds ticked off the clock, but as the buzzer sounded, and the players jumped off the bench, and the players, coaches and parents exploded in celebration.
For the first time in Nobleton Public School history, they won the York Regional Junior Boys Basketball Championship. Their coaches Anthony Cortese and Kathleen Hill were very happy for the players, and proud of the team, and all that they accomplished throughout the course of their season. They want to thank all of the parents who helped support the team by driving, buying drinks and dinners for those tournaments that went later into the evening, and especially for encouraging the team every step of the way through their applause and positive feedback.
Most importantly the coaches want to thank all of the players for their willingness to believe in the system, and to take the advice that they were given throughout the season, and make the necessary changes for the team to be successful all year long. The growth and maturity that each player demonstrated in such a short period of time was truly amazing, and the skills and talent they demonstrated on the court were exceptional.
Coaches Cortese and Hill would also like to thank the Grade 8 student coaches Sammy Dhillon, Lorenzo Rossi and Liam Rider, and the Grade 3 assistant coach and good luck charm Jayden Censori-Hercules.
The Nobleton Junior Boys Basketball Team consisted of Amar Aggarwal (Grade 5, Guard), Jaiveer Aggarwal (Grade 6, Starting Centre), Gurwaris Atwal (Grade 5, Forward), Ismail Azizi (Grade 5, Forward), Russell Bulgin (Grade 6, Starting Guard), Dante Censori-Hercules (Grade 5, Starting Guard), Samsher Dhillon (Grade 5, Guard), Harry Lally (Grade 5, Forward), Jayson Nguyen (Grade 5, Guard), Justin Plasa (Grade 6, Starting Forward), Mihir Rajput (Grade 6, Starting Guard), Arash Walizada (Grade 6, Forward).
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