Final 8: Emptying the notebook

The final (Brock 64, Acadia 61)
  • First word should go to Guelph Merc's Big Man, Greg Layson, who lets us in on a little something: Brock coach Ken Murray knew all along about his team's potential.
  • Brock, as you know, got back into it with a game-tying 14-6 run in the third quarter, right after Brad Rootes drew an offensive foul.

    Rootes not only scored all eight of his points in that stretch, but he got to the rim a couple times to score over Acadia's Leonel Saintil by going lefty. In the first half, he'd tried to drive the right side and was blocked.

    It's quite likely someone from Brock noticed that Carleton's Rob Saunders, in the semi-final vs. Acadia, got to the rim a couple times by going left. The Badgers certainly picked a good spot to go to the well.
  • There's a hundred factors that could have tipped the outcome to the other guys a 64-61 final. Acadia's Shawn Berry had foul trouble; he could have helped out on tournament MVP Owen White and given the Axemen another big body on the boards.
  • Brock grabbed four straight offensive boards at one point in the first half. When that happens, it's hard not to believe something special is unfolding.
  • Dusty Bianchin was tabbed as Brock's X factor in the preview that Mark Wacyk collaborated on for the Sun. Lo and behold, he hits the final two baskets of the game from his sweet spot, the right elbow.

    Bianchin, who grew up on Rosseau Place in Niagara Falls, one street over from Rootes and Mike Kemp, related how he joined his first basketball team at Rootes' behest. "We all played hockey and baseball together. When we were 12, Brad switched to basketball. I held out for one more year and then he called me and said, 'Look, we need a big guy.' "

    That's really the best way to overdramatize what Brock did; a bunch of guys who played together from an early age got together and got it done. Rootes made big plays at both ends of the floor; Bianchin and Mike Muir got rebounds; Kemp and Scott Murray were solid on the perimeter. Rohan Steen's line-drive three midway through the fourth was also a big, big shot. Last, but not least, there was White, who went toe-to-toe with Western's Colin LaForme and Acadia's Saintil over the final two games.

Ravens redux

  • Sun Media colleague Chris Stevenson's take, Ravens tumble with grace, pretty much nails it. They just got beat, they didn't shoot well or get good looks in three endgame situations. There's nothing dishonourable in that; it was telling when Ryan Bell said afterwards; "I was godawful in the first half. I couldn't get it done for the guys." (Emphasis mine.)
  • The one parallel with Acadia was Carleton's loss to York in January 2007, where they were down 61-22 at halftime. York had Jordan Foebel, a long defender in the post, plus couple GWSes (gunners without shame) out on the perimeter. That almost seems to be what you need to beat Carleton; a couple shooters who will throw up a contested three. There won't be as many open looks.
  • Dave DeAveiro, the Ottawa coach, shared his thoughts on Sunday: "You almost had the perfect game last night from Acadia, they had some great bounces and got some great shots. They did a great job defensively. Achuil (Lual) really did a great job on Aaron (Doornekamp). That’s the first time in a long time that Carleton hasn't won in the rebounding aspect of the game. They get second shots, they have a chance to win.

    "All that being said, Acadia shots 50% from the floor and they win by two in double overtime. That's how good Carleton is ... Every time it looked like, 'there goes Carleton on one of those runs,' they'd get a big three or a big score."

    DeAveiro also commented on the loss of the uber-guard, Oz Jeanty.

    "The question everyone asks was, was it difficult not having Osvaldo (Jeanty) on the floor? Carleton had a chance to win in regulation, a chance to win in the first overtime and a chance to tie in the second overtime and could not get a good shot off. That's the first time I've seen that. Credit goes to Acadia, but with Oz in there, there’s no doubt Oz is taking the ball and he's going to score. It was interesting to see that last night, who was going to be the go-to guy."

    Talking on Wednesday, Doornekamp had said "nobody could fill" the hole left by Jeanty's graduation. Thing is, the Ravens had covered up for it well. That tells you what kind of job Dave Smart did going 32-1 this season. Thing is, people will remember the one.

Errata (and one erratic toss)

  • Attention must be paid: The OUA West's second- and fourth-place teams in the regular season played in the national semi-final. Western, under Brad Campbell, will be back before long.
  • So, a 16-team tournament? Part of the argument is that there are more good teams than there were even a decade ago and they should get a shot. Another is that three games in 48 hours might work against providing a good showcase for the sport. The final -- granted, this is partly Carleton's influence -- always tends to be a defensive struggle, with scores in the 60s. When was the last time there were more than 150 points scored in a championship game?

    At the same time, the Final 8 is a nice, compact format. It's take in teams from all regions of the country. There's a law of diminishing returns.

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to

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  1. Why is nobody in the media that covered this game discussing why Paulo Santana was benched for the last 5 minutes of the national final. He was only Acadia's leading scoring, their point guard, and one of their best defenders. I have seen no injury reports and the box score showed he only had 2 fouls. (I may be wrong and if I am I prematurely apologize).

    His replacement was not able to defend as well, not able to break down Brock's defence on the bounce and turned over the ball at the end so they couldn't even heave up a desperation three.

    Its just another example of an egoistic coach who instead of letting the game flow had to overcoach and go with a misperceived match up or a hunch.

    I feel sick for both of the players involved and both of them deserved better from their coach.

    For once it wasn't the players who lost the game it was the Acadian coach who deserves the blame by taking out his team leader on the floor during the game of his life for some dumbass reason.

    He's just another example why I will push my kids towards individual sports.

  2. Berry told both myself and The Score that Santana had an ankle problem all year and hurt his knee in the AUS tournament; why would he lie? He also didn't start the game; generally starters play the last 5 minutes.

    As for feeling "sick" for the players, Les Berry did have something to do with Acadia being in that game.

    I don't presume to know what goes on behind closed doors; people have thought Acadia plays better as a team with Kraus bringing it up and Santana playing off the ball.