Sports

Sr. Bulldogs spirits not dampened despite 0-10 basketball season

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball season didn’t finish the year with the record they wanted but still managed to enjoy the experience.

The Bulldogs dropped a 72-32 decision to the Essex Red Raiders last Tuesday night in a game played at General Amherst High School. The Bulldogs held a 9-8 lead at one point in the first quarter but Essex finished the quarter strong and led 22-9 after the first eight minutes.

The Red Raiders lead ballooned to 33-19 at the half before pulling away further in the second half en route to the victory.

The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 0-10 and out of the playoffs. Essex finished the regular season with a 7-3 record.

The 2017-18 General Amherst Bulldogs senior boys basketball team concluded their season with a loss to the Essex Red Raiders last Tuesday night. The Bulldogs finished the season winless but still enjoyed their experiences with the team this year.

“We were just having fun, soaking it all in,” said Sebastian Hebert, one of the team’s seniors. “We were going for the win. It just kind of fell apart.”
Despite their record, Hebert said he had a fun year with his teammates.

“I’m glad we had a team,” he said. “I was just glad I could play.”

Hebert said that he didn’t know if he would enjoy basketball when he started in Grade 9.

“It turns out, I love it,” he said.

General Amherst head coach Ben Pelger said the final game against Essex was symbolic of how the entire season went.

“It was a tough season with a couple of good games,” he said.

Pelger said it was a lack of physical ability that held the Bulldogs back this season as they were unable to keep up with other teams.

Pelger also thanked the seniors for their leadership on this year’s team.

General Amherst’s Griffin Muzzin is pressured as he dribbles the ball up the court during last Monday evening’s WECSSAA senior boys basketball game. Essex defeated General Amherst 72-32 to drop the Bulldogs’ record to 0-10.

“We just have to go back to basics and work hard over the summer,” he said.

The season was still enjoyable, Pelger added, and said the support of parents and grandparents was appreciated.

“That’s something that’s really important for our community,” he said.

The junior Bulldogs, also coached by Pelger, finished the regular season with a 1-9 record.

“They worked hard and played to the best of their abilities,” he said. “We still don’t have the height to compete with the other teams. For a small team, they really had some close games.”

 

Jr. Lady Gens advance in WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst senior girls volleyball season may be finished, but the junior girls are still going.

The Jr. Lady Gens advanced in the WECSSAA “AA” volleyball playoffs last Thursday evening with a three-set sweep of the Essex Red Raiders in a match played at General Amherst High School. The Lady Gens, who were 8-2 in the regular season, defeated Essex 25-17, 25-20 and 25-15 to advance to the semifinals.

“The juniors have had a fantastic year,” said Jeff Miller, who coaches both the juniors and seniors at General Amherst. “Essex is way better than the ten-seed.”

The match versus the Red Raiders was good for the Lady Gens as they had to work for the victory.

“We played a really good, solid match to beat them,” Miller stated. “If we were sloppy, they could have knocked us off.”

Lexi Dodds hits the ball back over the net during General Amherst’s junior girls volleyball match with Essex Feb. 8.

General Amherst is the second seed in the WECSSAA “AA” playoffs and hope to eventually meet the top seed.

“The expectation is we want to be in the WECSSAA final and get another chance at Sandwich and put a scare into them,” said Miller.

This year’s junior Lady Gens team has been a pleasant surprise for coaches Miller and Christine Belcher.

“I thought we’d be a pretty solid group but I didn’t think we’d be second out of everybody,” said Miller.

The senior Lady Gens host the OFSAA “AA” championships next year and Miller believes that team will be “marketedly improved” as they will enter the provincial tournament as the host team.

The senior team will lose about five players to graduation but will have five returning players plus an influx of talent from this year’s junior team. The senior Lady Gens were eliminated from the WECSSAA playoffs in three sets last Tuesday, losing 25-18, 25-23 and 25-19 at Tecumseh Vista Academy. Miller said the seniors started playing better after the Christmas break but illness and injury didn’t help either.

“Unfortunately it was a little bit too late,” he said.

Bulldogs end regular season in first, build momentum towards hockey playoffs

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Bulldogs boys hockey team finished the regular season in first place in their division after three wins last week.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 8-2-2, good for 18 points. They edged out L’Essor (17 points) and Belle River (16 points) for top spot in the WECSSAA “AA” Cullen Conference.

All three games last week were at the Libro Centre.

The Bulldogs wrapped up top spot with a 4-3 win over the Essex Red Raiders. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Brock Beaudoin, Max Clifford and team captain Josh DiCarlo before Essex rallied to tie the game early in the second period. Beaudoin wired home his second of the game later in the second period and Amherst shut the opposition down the rest of the way.

“It was a big win,” said DiCarlo. “It gave us first place.”

General Amherst forward Max Clifford (right) gets a scoring chance on Essex goalie Chase Cosgrove during the Bulldogs’ final regular season game last Thursday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The Bulldogs defeated the Red Raiders to wrap up the regular season in first place in their division.

DiCarlo said they talked all year about finishing in first place heading into the playoffs and they achieved that goal. The Bulldogs received a first-round bye thanks to the victory.

“In the third period, we shut them down,” he said. “We could have had a couple of more goals. We had a lot of opportunities.”

The Bulldogs have momentum heading into the playoffs, he added.

“We’re rolling,” said DiCarlo. “Our better players are starting to put the puck in the net.”

General Amherst head coach Pat Garrett said it’s been a tight battle and believes his players earned the right to be in first place going into the playoffs.

“They deserve first place,” he said. “The real reward could come in a couple of weeks at the end of the playoffs. I’d like to be there looking at a SWOSSAA game.”

Garrett – who coaches the team with Joe Shaw – pointed out that if they want to win a title, they can’t take any team lightly along the way.

“If you look at the standings, there are about four teams that can legitimately go to the finals,” said Garrett.

The Bulldogs squared off with L’Essor Wednesday and won a high-scoring 9-5 affair. Beaudoin, Clifford and DiCarlo each scored twice in the win with Isaac Hammond, Cole Zelle and Max Jones also scored.

Garrett said they were down 4-1 in the first six minutes but managed to find a way to win.

“We came out very flat in an important game,” he said. “The kids made some adjustments and rallied.”

General Amherst’s Brock Beaudoing (19) scores a second period goal during the Bulldogs’ 4-3 victory over the Essex Red Raiders last week. Beaudoin has nine goals in his last four WECSSAA games.

Garrett said they were able to overcome adversity and battle back, with the team’s better players showing why they are the better players.

“All of our big game players are getting the job done,” he said. “You need to be rolling before the playoffs.

The other game of the week was a 6-1 win over the Brennan Cardinals. Russel Morencie and Beaudoin each scored a pair with Jones and Lee Sinasac adding the other goals.

The playoff schedule had not been finalized as of press time.

Admirals hold two-games-to-one lead in PJHL playoff series

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Unlike the regular season when the road team won four of the five games, the home team has won each of the first three games in the Admirals’ PJHL Stobbs Division quarterfinal with the Mooretown Flags.

The Admirals took a two-games-to-one lead in the series thanks to a 7-2 win Sunday night at the Libro Centre. A Josh Talerico wrist shot gave the Admirals a 1-0 lead late in the first period and Caleb Paquette made it a 2-0 lead 30 seconds into the second period with a powerplay goal but Garrett Miller and Ryan Lyle quickly tied it for the Flags.

After that, it was all Amherstburg as the Admirals got a breakaway goal from Cory Burns late in the second period and third period goals from Ryan Alexander, Austin Jennings, Amilio Acampora and Brett Smith, the latter being a powerplay goal.

Amherstburg’s Caleb Paquette (6, left) breaks in alone on Mooretown goalie Jake Wilkins during third period action in Game 1. Paquette didn’t score on the play but the Admirals would win that game 4-2 Feb. 7.

Admirals head coach/GM Paul Bortignon said Game 3 could have gone either way after a disappointing loss in Game 2. He said they got off to a good start and did a good job bouncing back after Mooretown had tied it at two in the second period of Sunday’s game.

“I thought our guys did a good job keeping their composure in the third period,” said Bortignon. “We just did a lot of things right. We played with a lot of speed in the third.”

Bortignon added that the Admirals should get a momentum boost from the game but acknowledged Mooretown won’t be happy with what happened in Game 3 and will look to turn things around in Game 4.

Before the game, Burns was honoured with an award for being the Stobbs Division’s scoring leader in the regular season. Burns finished with 65 points.

Game 2 was a heartbreaker for the Admirals, as they squandered a 3-0 lead and fell 4-3 in overtime in Mooretown Saturday night.

Admirals co-owner/assistant coach Matt Fox presents Cory Burns with an award prior to Sunday’s Game 3 as Burns was the leading scorer in the PJHL Stobbs Division during the 2017-18 regular season with 65 points. (Photo by John Holzel)

Dylan Muzzatti’s first period goal gave Amherstburg a 1-0 lead with Kyle Meloche and Michael Hatch adding second period goals for the Admirals. However, Nolan Riley, Joe Ferrera and Ryan Lyle scored third period goals for the Flags – the latter two being in the final three minutes of the game and while Mooretown had their goalie out for the extra attacker.

Lyle would score again 7:17 into overtime, this goal being on a powerplay, to give Mooretown the victory.

Mooretown outshot Amherstburg 59-30 in Game 2.

Game 1 saw the Admirals get off to a slow start as Joe Stock and Cameron Rannie gave the Flags a 2-0 lead just past the halfway mark of the first period. However, the Admirals would score the next four goals en route to a 4-2 win.

Ryan Alexander’s first of two goals came on a powerplay at the 14:26 mark of the first period and he tied the game almost 13 minutes into the second period. Keegan MacVoy broke the tie when his point shot found the back of the net on a powerplay at the 4:19 point of the third period with Broden Meloche scoring the fourth Amherstburg goal just over four minutes later.

The Flags outshot the Admirals 31-27 in Game 1.

Cory Burns (9) scores a second period goal on Mooretown’s Nolan Hakr during the second period of Game 3 Feb. 11. Amherstburg won that game 7-2.

“It took us a little while to get into it,” said Bortignon after Game 1. “(Mooretown) was ready for playoff hockey and it took us 6-7 minutes for us to get going. It was a good wake-up call for our club, for sure.”

Bortignon said they started Game 1 playing “regular season hockey” but quickly found their playoff mode.

“We expect this one to go long,” he said of the Mooretown series. “All we can control is how we play.”
Game 4 is Wednesday (Feb. 14) in Mooretown with Game 5 being Thursday at 7 p.m.

If necessary, Game 6 will be Saturday night in Mooretown with a seventh and deciding game being at the Libro Centre Sunday at 7 p.m. Monitor www.rivertowntimes.com and our social media feeds throughout the week to follow the Admirals’ progress.

 

Local marathon runner doing so in memory of Boston Marathon bombing victim

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Add an Amherstburg woman’s name to the list of those helping to remember one of the victim’s of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Ashley Kellam will be returning to Boston again this year but will this year be a part of Team MR8, the team set up to remember Martin Richard and to raise funds for the Martin Richard Foundation. Martin Richard was an eight-year-old boy that was killed during the bombing at the Boston Marathon five years ago.

“I’ve gone the last five or six years,” said Kellam, of running in the Boston Marathon. She was one of the participants in 2013 as well. In the last few years, she noticed the “Team MR8” on other runners’ bibs and, after investigating it, decided to apply to be on the team this year. She was accepted.

“All proceeds go to projects that promote peace and inclusion in the Boston area,” said Kellam.

Team MR8 is made up of Richard’s initials and his favourite sports number. Bibs also say “Peace” due to a photo that surfaced shortly after Richard’s death with a sign reading “No more hurting people. Peace.”

Kellam said that members are asked to raise a target amount of donations, this year the minimum being $2,500 U.S.

Pictured is a look at the CrowdRise page started for Ashley Kellam. Kellam is running in the Boston Marathon again this year and will be part of Team MR8, a group of runners raising funds for the Martin Richard Foundation. Richard was an eight-year-old boy killed in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

“This year I am so humbled to be running on Team MR8 in the Boston Marathon to help raise money for the cause. I’ve been spreading the word through family and friends and on social media to collect donations and spread awareness about the foundation,” she said.

Kellam said she is over half-way to her $2,500 U.S. goal and is continuing to raise money. This year, she will be running in the Boston Marathon with her sister Samantha as both qualified at a race in Michigan last year.

While they run regularly during the year, Kellam added they start training harder and focusing on the Boston Marathon in December.

Kellam said she hopes to be on Team MR8 annually.

“Being on the team is a nice way to give back to the community,” she said. “We’re raising money for a wonderful cause and a remarkable foundation.”

The foundation is “very inspirational,” she added, and that it is nice to shed some light on it.

According to the foundation’s website, www.teammr8.org, “the Martin Richard Foundation provides opportunities for individuals and communities to live out the values of peace, justice and kindness.” It’s vision is: “We envision a place where people recognize the humanity in others and model the decency needed for a united, compassionate, and inclusive community.”

To contribute to Kellam’s fundraising efforts, people can click on www.crowdrise.com and search “Ashley Kellam.” The direct link is www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/teammr8boston2018/ashleykellam?utm_campaign=oc&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=crowdrise