By Larry Moko
Two things pleased St. Thomas More senior boys’ high school basketball coach Mark Moretuzzo about his team’s performance against the Cardinal Newman Cardinals Tuesday.
One, was getting a win over the visiting Cardinals and sweeping the regular-season series from them. And secondly, the final score – 48-35 – indicated the strength of the Knights defence.
“To give up 35 points in senior … we’re pretty happy,” Moretuzzo said.
Other Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association action Tuesday saw the Cathedral Gaels defeat the St. Mary Crusaders, 72-40, and the St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves top the Bishop Tonnos Titans, 68-50.
With those results, Cathedral (6-1) sits alone in first place. Brebeuf, More and Newman are following close behind in the standings with 5-2 records.
“On any given night I think anybody can beat anybody,” Moretuzzo said. “The scores reflect that.”
Diar Alkady paced the More offence against Newman with 21 points. Efosa Omorogbe added 13. “They’ve been our 1-2 punch all year,” the Knights coach said.
For Newman, Nick Rakas netted 12 points and Tyler Bridgman chipped in with eight – including back-to-back threes in the third quarter when the Cardinals briefly took the lead. However, after forward Frankie Stipancic’s offensive rebound and layup basket put Newman ahead 25-24, More scored nine unanswered points to close out the third quarter.
“Both teams played hard,” Omorogbe said of the first game on the schedule after the Christmas break. “It was back and forth.”
The first meeting between the Knights and the defending champion Cardinals on Nov. 30 was also low-scoring, 62-44.
Omorogbe is a Grade 12 guard. Moretuzzo says he’s also a hard-worker who provides the Knights with both great leadership and a strong presence on defence.
“We rely on him,” the More coach said. “He plays big minutes and is a huge contributor to our team’s success.”
Omorogbe says the Knights have the ability as a team to go undefeated for the remainder of the season.