basketball

Amherstburg natives inducted into Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

It was a big night for a number of people in the region’s athletic community, including two people with Amherstburg ties.

The Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame officially welcomed seven individuals, one team and one club at their induction ceremony Friday night at the Ciociaro Club. Among the inductees were Dom Silvaggio in the basketball builder category and Cheryll Damphouse in the golf athlete category.

Silvaggio was honoured for his ongoing coaching legacy at General Amherst High School that includes over 600 victories, 26 championships at the local WECSSAA/ECSSAA level, 13 SWOSSAA (southwestern Ontario) championships and ten straight OFSAA medals with the school’s senior basketball team. Of the ten straight OFSAA medals with the Lady Gens, five of them were gold including four straight provincial titles between 2004-07.

Silvaggio also founded the Amherstburg Basketball Club and headed that for 22 years, teaching both boys and girls the fundamentals of the sport.

In his induction video, Silvaggio credited everyone he has ever coached with, noting Dave Scott, Ross Scott and Mike Nedin got him into coaching. He noted he has coached a long time with Greg Scott and Don Parks with his local coaching peers also including Nicole Rusenstrom, Karl Wightman, Frank Palumbo, Vic DiNardo, Jim Belcher, Dale Prisley, John VandeBovenkamp, Tim Dodds, Amy Bondy and Brad Bondy.

The Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame induction class of 2018.

“Coaching with my son was a big deal to me,” said Silvaggio, as his son Stephen shared the General Amherst sidelines with him and is now the head coach of the Kennedy Clippers senior girls team.

Silvaggio, joined by wife Susan as well as his son Stephen and daughter Kim as well as a group of fellow coaches, family members and former players for the ceremony, said in his induction video that “rewards are not easy” and urged that people “don’t take things for granted.” He also credited his parents for instilling in him his work ethic.

“My family has been amazing,” said Silvaggio. “Without their support, I couldn’t have done this.”

Silvaggio told the RTT after the ceremony that “it’s just awesome. To be here with family, friends and former players means a lot.”

Silvaggio added that he received congratulations from parents from other schools as well as other coaches from around the region.

Cheryll Damphouse was one of the 2018 Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

“It’s a special night,” he said.

Silvaggio emphasized that he shares the award with his fellow coaches, including from the elementary and club system.

“They all share a part of it,” he said. “It’s a whole team effort.”

For Damphouse, who was honoured for a golfing career that started as a result of illness when she was in Grade 4. Her talents blossomed as a member of the Kingsville Golf and Country Club as she was club champion nine times and the Essex-Kent District Ladies Champion five times.

Damphouse also won the Ontario Match Play Championship twice and qualified for LPGA tournaments including the DuMaurier Classic, the Lady Stroh’s Tournament and competed in France at the Ladies International Stroke Play Championship. Her biography also notes that she played in the Ladies British Open and was the 1989 Canadian Ladies Amateur Champion.

Domenic Silvaggio (pictured with son Stephen, wife Susan and daughter Kim) was among the honourees at the induction ceremony.

Damphouse was also named twice to the Ontario Senior Ladies’ Provincial team and was a five-time member of the Ontario Ladies Amateur team.

“When I got the call (about being inducted), I was very surprised and very humbled,” she said. “to be inducted with all these wonderful athletes and builders.”

Damphouse added that “it’s quite an honour to be compared to these people I’ve looked up to over the years.”

Noting she didn’t see the honour coming, Damphouse added that anyone who plays sports or who puts their children in sports learns “there is no better environment to grow up in.” The values one learns by learning to compete and to win and lose is important and learned through sports, she said.

Also inducted were Richard Shaw (basketball athlete), J. Paul Reddam (thoroughbred racing builder), Paul Carter (basketball builder), Andy Delmore (hockey athlete) and Don Marrin (wrestling builder). The Tecumseh Baseball Club was also inducted as was the University of Windsor Lancers women’s basketball team from 2011-15. The latter includes Amherstburg’s Korissa Williams, who was unable to attend as she was working Friday night as a member of the Peel Regional Police.

 

Local coach to be inducted into Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A coach who has led General Amherst High School basketball teams to numerous boys and girls championships is getting a significant honour himself.

Domenic Silvaggio will be inducted into the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame this fall. The news went public last week that Silvaggio will be part of the class of 2018.

Silvaggio got the word in late-June that he was likely to be inducted this year and the official word came last week. He will be inducted as part of the builder’s category.

“It was kind of nice to hear, that’s for sure,” he said.

Silvaggio added he was at a “loss for words” when the call came that he was a soon-to-be Hall of Famer.

“There’s been quite a few people asking me about it (in past years),” he said. “I said it’s something I have no control over. If it comes, it comes.”

Now that the honour has come, Silvaggio is sharing it with many of his peers. That includes many coaches within the elementary and the Amherstburg Basketball Club system especially those who were involved with both systems including Karl Wightman, Frank Palumbo, Vic DiNardo, Jim Belcher, Dale Prisley, John VandeBovenkamp, Tim Dodds, Amy Bondy and Brad Bondy.

Among those that helped him along the way have also included Ross Scott, Mike Nedin and Dave Scott.

“These guys were influential in getting me into coaching,” he said.

Nicole Rusenstrom was also thanked for her help with teams in recent years.

Special thanks was given to Greg Scott and Don Parks, who were recognized for their many years of coaching with Silvaggio. He also recognized his son Stephen, who both played and coached with him and now has his own basketball program at Kennedy.

“All the coaches should be sharing this with me as well,” he said.

General Amherst coach Dom Silvaggio (centre) goes over a play during a timeout of a Nov. 2017 game against Kennedy. Silvaggio’s accomplishments over his coaching career have landed him a spot in the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be in October.

Fundraisers for the local basketball programs have included Ross Scott, Parks, Greg Scott and Palumbo plus the many players and parents that helped out.

Parents have also been of great help over the years.

“They always had my back, driving the kids to all parts of Ontario,” he said.

The players were also thanked, with Silvaggio noting that none of the championship teams he has coached would have been possible without the hard work of the players. He recalled championship teams that would win a tournament on a Saturday and come home and want to practice on the Sunday.

“That’s the dedication and drive they had,” said Silvaggio. “Without that, you aren’t going to win anything.”

While the dedication of players and parents were pointed out, so too were the efforts of his fellow teachers and administrators as well.

“It makes my job a heck of a lot easier when you have that,” he said.

Silvaggio gave special thanks to his family, including wife Susan, son Stephen and daughter Kim. Kim also played for her father during her time at General Amherst.

“Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to put in the time,” he said. “There were a lot of weekends away, that’s for sure.”

Among the accomplishments on Silvaggio’s resume include 26 WECSSAA/ECSSAA championships between boys and girls basketball teams. He has coached 13 SWOSSAA championship teams and the senior girls program he has overseen won ten consecutive medals at OFSAA at either the “AA” or “AAA” level, including five gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals at the provincial championship tournament.

Silvaggio’s teams have also won two gold medals and one silver at the senior boys Ontario District High School Championships and two golds in Division 2 at the Basketball Ontario Cup boys championship with the Amherstburg Basketball Club.

Silvaggio has won the most basketball OFSAA championships and medals as a coach in the Windsor/Essex area. His league and playoff win totals at the high school level top 600 and that number swells to 1,000 overall wins when tournaments are factored in.

The 2006 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team was selected as the top high school team of the year regardless of size by a committee of coaches and administrators from throughout Ontario.

In 2007, the senior girls won the Super 12 tournament which included the eventual OFSAA “AAAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners as well as the OFSAA “AAA” gold, silver and bronze medal winners for that year. The Lady Gens won the “AA” gold that year.

From 2004-2013, the General Amherst senior girls basketball team had a record of 197-9 in WECSSAA, SWOSSAA and OFSAA league and playoff games. Silvaggio said most of those were at the Tier 1 level after WECSSAA started the tier system. Those teams had a 45-5 record in OFSAA play during that time span to go along with their ten straight medals.

Silvaggio was one of the founders and president for over 20 years of the Amherstburg Basketball Club. He said the Amherstburg Basketball Club was started to enhance and promote the game of basketball for the youth who lived in the Amherstburg area.

One of the teams Domenic Silvaggio (far right) coached to an OFSAA basketball championship were the 2011 General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls team (File photo – Special to the RTT)

“There were hundreds of children who played either house league or travel or both,” he said. “Many of the youth who were a part of this program probably would not have played basketball at the competitive and house league level if not for this club.”

Silvaggio believes he is one of only three high school basketball coaches to go into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be Oct. 19 at the Ciociaro Club.

Since the news went public, Silvaggio added he has been receiving many messages of congratulations.

“It’s nice,” he said. “It’s an honour but I’d like to share this with all of the other coaches.”

Other inductees into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame include Paul Carter (basketball), J. Paul Reddam (horse racing) and Don Marrin (wrestling) in the builder’s category; golfer Cheryll Damphouse, boxer Mary Spencer, hockey player Andy Delmore and basketball player Richard Shaw going in as part of the athletes category.

The Tecumseh Baseball Club and the 2011-15 University of Windsor Lancer women’s basketball team will be inducted under the club and team category.

 

 

Lady Gens gearing up for 2017 WECSSAA girls basketball season

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The General Amherst Lady Gens will try and work their way back to the top of the local high school basketball mountain, but it is still to early to forecast this year’s team.

Players are back in the gym practicing but head coach Dom Silvaggio said it is hard to judge at this point how the senior team will stack up.

Players in the senior and junior age groups have been practicing thus far with more invited to join once the school year begins Sept. 5.

Senior and junior basketball players practice last Thursday morning in preparation for General Amherst’s upcoming WECSSAA season.

Senior and junior basketball players practice last Thursday morning in preparation for General Amherst’s upcoming WECSSAA season.

Roughly four seniors graduated from last year’s team and Silvaggio said one of the players eligible to return will not be.

Silvaggio said returning players Ramie Tytgat and Brooklyn Prescott consistently took advantage of gym time made available earlier in the year as did a few others.

“They’ve definitely improved a lot,” Silvaggio stated.

Consistent practice pays dividends, he believes.

“You have to have the passion and want to play,” he said.

That said, he still is hopeful of a good season and is working with the players at the latest round of practices.

Whether the senior team plays in Tier 1 depends on the amount of players that end up playing at that level with that number yet to be determined.

General Amherst head coach Dom Silvaggio conducts a shooting drill during a practice last Thursday.

General Amherst head coach Dom Silvaggio conducts a shooting drill during a practice last Thursday.

The junior team is also expecting a good number of new players coming up from elementary school, he added.

General Amherst’s 13-year WECSSAA winning streak ended last year and their streak of ten straight OFSAA appearances ended the year before.

“We’d like to see (the basketball program) back to where it was but it starts with the kids,” he said. “They have to want to put the time in to improve.”

Admirals to play Petrolia in make-up game this Saturday night

By RTT Staff

 

The heavy snowfall the area had on Sunday wreaked havoc on the PJHL schedule, including the game that was to be played in Amherstburg.

Due to the weather conditions, the game between the Integrity Amherstburg Admirals and the Petrolia Flyers was postponed. A make-up date has now been announced and the game will be played this Saturday (Dec. 17) at 7:30 p.m.

admirals

The Admirals next game is scheduled for Wednesday night (Dec. 14) in Wallaceburg with Amherstburg also scheduled to have a road game this Friday night (Dec. 16) in Dresden.

Their next home game is next Sunday night (Dec. 18) against the Wheatley Sharks.

 

Sr. Boys basketball   The General Amherst Bulldogs and the Villanova Wildcats opened the 2016-17 WECSSAA senior boys basketball season last Thursday at Villanova.

The Wildcats pulled off a 47-36 win in their home opener with two road games scheduled for this week. Villanova was at Essex Tuesday night after this issue went to press with a game at L’Essor Thursday afternoon.

Conversely, the Bulldogs have two home games this week. They hosted L’Essor Tuesday night and will welcome the Brennan Cardinals Thursday evening.

 

Sr. Boys hockey   The General Amherst Bulldogs fell to 1-3-1 on the 2016-17 WECSSAA Tier 1 boys hockey season after losing 6-3 at Belle River last Wednesday. The game, played at the Atlas Tube Centre, saw Brock Beaudoin, Kyle Drouillard and Dean Emerson score for the Bulldogs.

Eric Larue led the Nobles’ attack with a hat trick while Hunter Bailey, Reiss Robinson and Colton Candido also tallied for Belle River.

The Bulldogs hosted Sandwich yesterday afternoon after this issue of the RTT went to press. They return to the Libro Centre Thursday afternoon for a 3 p.m. faceoff against the Sandwich Sabres.

 

—The River Town Times welcomes game reports and photos of all minor sports events involving Amherstburg teams. For information or to send in a results, e-mail mail@rivertowntimes.com.

 

Lady Gens off to rough start though looking to build momentum

 

By Ron Giofu

It’s a rebuilding year for the General Amherst Lady Gens senior girls basketball team but they are hoping to build towards the playoffs as soon as this year.

The Lady Gens dropped to 0-5 last Thursday afternoon thanks to a 50-25 loss to the Lajeunesse Royals in a game played at General Amherst. The Lady Gens, who were defeated in their first three league games on the road, also lost at home Tuesday 36-15 to Essex but head coach Dom Silvaggio said Thursday’s effort was the one he was least happy with.

“That was kind of disappointing,” he said after the Lajeunesse game. “I was really disappointed in our defense.”

Defensive rebounding was a sore spot in Thursday’s game with turnovers also being an issue. Silvaggio said he knew coming into the year the Lady Gens would have trouble scoring but the Lajeunesse game was not what he was looking for defensively.

“We’ve been able to shut teams down defensively and tonight we didn’t,” he said.

Silvaggio pointed to a game earlier in the year where Amherst lost to a good St. Anne team but held them to 35 points when the Saints usually average about 60.

The Amherst coach gave Lajeunesse credit as they were “very patient and stayed in their lanes on defense” but said the Lady Gens didn’t handle the pressure well when they had the basketball.

“Everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get rid of the ball,” said Silvaggio.

Lajeunesse also had one player, Laura Golding, that presented match-up problems for the Lady Gens.

General Amherst’s Ramie Tytgat (11) grabs a rebound over a Lajeunesse defender during a game at General Amherst last Thursday.

General Amherst’s Ramie Tytgat (11) grabs a rebound over a Lajeunesse defender during a game at General Amherst last Thursday.

Silvaggio defended the decision to play in WECSSAA Tier 1, adding they are building towards the playoffs and hope to surprise some other AA schools when they get there. He said they beat a Tier 2 school at a tournament but playing in that league all year long wouldn’t be beneficial to the team in the long run.

“I thought we’d get into a lot of bad habits,” he said.

Playing in Tier 1 will be difficult, he added, but stated it exposes the girls to a higher level of basketball and will make the players better for next year. Those that are returning have to put the time in during the off-season as well to get better. He said he opened the gym last June but only two or three players showed up.

The game against Essex, whom Silvaggio said is the best AA team in the league, was a better effort for General Amherst and was a 9-8 game after one quarter. Essex then expanded their advantage over the next two quarters.

“I think we scored two points in the next two quarters and that’s when they built their lead,” he said.

Essex had to work hard to build their lead, Silvaggio added, something that has happened in most games this season except the Lajeunesse game when the Lady Gens didn’t play well and were not in the game.

The Lady Gens are on the road Thursday at Holy Names and return home next Tuesday to play Herman. The latter game is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m., after the junior game.