The John Rennie High School Tigers pounced on the Westmount High School Knights last Monday evening, claiming their first victory in the bantam ‘D3’ division.
“Well both of us hadn’t won a game yet so it was a big win for us and we snuck it out,” said Tigers head coach Adam Burnatowski. “The kids played hard – both teams actually played hard – it was good to get a win.”
The Tigers narrowly defeated the Knights 37-36 but it all started with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Facing a 25-22 deficit, John Rennie threw out the defensive playbook, opting instead to attack their opponents.
The Tigers went on a short run to end the quarter. And Nolan Walker, who finished with a team-high 19 points on the night, was the catalyst. His biggest contribution came in the third, as he dropped 13 points to put his Tigers up 30-25 heading into the fourth quarter.
“It’s a situation they’ve never found themselves in, holding onto a lead, this is where possession of the ball becomes so much more precious and these are things they have to learn,” said Knights head coach Patrick Adrien about his teams’ third quarter collapse.
Westmount has struggled out of the gate this season, posting a league-worst zero wins and nine losses. But Adrien knows his squad can be better. They had flashes of brilliance throughout the game – including a dramatic moment in the dying seconds.
Star player Anthony Grant-Muir drilled a three-point shot with three seconds left on the board to bring the score to 37-36. However, the team wasn’t able to get the ball back in time to complete the comeback.
“They played hard, obviously they played their hearts out but the mistakes they made stem clearly from lack of prep, so hopefully with many sports finishing by Christmas, we’ll have more practice time, which is really what we need,” Adrien said.
Despite being outscored 11-7 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were able to hold on and secure the two points. The Knights smartly fouled John Rennie on nearly every possession in the final minute but a series of clutch free throws ultimately sealed the win.
“Early in the game I think we only hit one until the fourth quarter, but down the line when we needed to make them we made them and that was the difference,” said Burnatowski.