THUNDER BAY – The St. Ignatius Falcons barely broke a sweat on Saturday in winning a third straight NorWOSSA varsity boys basketball championship.
Jared Kreiner posted 23 points to lead the Falcons to an 81-33 triumph over the visiting Fort Frances Muskies, clinching a sweep in their best-of-three regional final. The win earns St. Ignatius a trip to the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association’s provincial championship starting March 6 in Sault Ste. Marie.
“It feels great, it’s the second year in a row for me and the third year of the program,” said Kreiner, whose father Jon coaches the Lakehead Thunderwolves women’s team.
“We got off to a good start yesterday and got the W and we kept strolling through.”
The outcome was never really in doubt, the Falcons jumping out to a 30-10 lead after the opening eight minutes and took a 50-20 advantage into the half.
They kept the pedal to the medal to open the third, a 15-2 run ensuring the Muskies would not pull off a miraculous second-half comeback to force a third and deciding game later in the day.
“It’s great, just to get another win under our belts is amazing,” said Jayme Koski, who hit double digits with 10 points, tied for second on the Falcons with centre Austin Burchat.
“It was just a good team win, with a lot of open shots with passing and breaking down the press. They just couldn’t stop us.”
It’s just step two in a three-step process, Koski said, acknowledging the road to step three, a provincial championship, will be much tougher next week in Sault Ste. Marie.
He’s hopeful Saturday’s win will be a springboard to success at provincials.
“We’ve just got to get better at the little things,” the 6-foot-6 17-year-old Grade 12 student said.
“Boxing out, pushing up the floor – teams are going to be a lot faster down there.”
St. Ignatius coach Matt Erdman said it gives his team another opportunity to make a name for itself at the provincial level.
“It’s been our goal all year to get back to OFSAA and hopefully win a couple of games and see where that takes us,” Erdman said.
“I think if we take care of the ball and limit our turnovers from that standpoint, and make some shots, I think there’s a good opportunity for us to do something really well.”
Aaron Bujold led the Muskies with nine points, while Andrew Hanson finished with seven.
The OFSAA championship begins on March 6.