By John DeCoste
The Horton D-1 boys’ basketball team is off to a strong start in search of another provincial title.
In their most recent action, the Griffins took part in the 16-team Gray Cup tournament Dec. 6-8 at Colonel Gray High in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and returned home with a 3-1 record.
Horton defeated Sackville (N.S.) 100-61 and Harrison Trimble from Moncton 83-62, dropped an 84-77 decision to Charlottetown Rural, then got back on the winning track with a 66-61 victory over Three Oaks from Summerside.
Moncton High, which went undefeated at 5-0, won the tournament with a 91-62 win over Riverview (N.B.).
Horton players picked up a pair of individual honours. Grade 12 starter Alex Thomas was selected to the tournament all-star team and Grade 11 starter Brett Dickie won the free-throw competition by making 100 per cent of his attempts.
Among the challenges for Horton this season is adjusting to a pair of new co-coaches, Jason Clark and Kevin Veinot. The coaches say the team “has been playing well, despite being the youngest team in the province.”
So far, the Griffins have gotten “solid offensive play” from Thomas and Bradley Fuller, both seniors.
“Our point guard, Brett Dickie, has been coming on as of late as a strong playmaker and defensive player,” while Glen Frasier “has been solid as a defensive player.”
Clark and Veinot have also been pleased with the contribution so far from three first-year Griffins, Matt Ingham, Gage Sabean and Isaac Melanson, all of whom are Grade 9 students.
The trio, they point out, “all have good game sense and skillsets that (have) put them in our rotation, and getting a lot of minutes.”
Horton, whose tradition of attending a host of competitive tournaments has continued under the new coaches, travelled to Yarmouth for a league game on Dec. 15.
The Griffins are in Fredericton Dec. 21-22 for the annual Black Cat tournament hosted by Fredericton High.
Horton is scheduled to play Leo Hayes, another Fredericton school, on Dec. 21, and the host Fredericton High squad later that evening. The remainder of their tournament will depend on how they do in their first two games.
Both games will be rematches for the Griffins, who lost to Leo Hayes by 15 points and to Fredericton by “four or five” in tournament action earlier in the season.
Horton will also be hosting its annual Holiday Classic, which is being sponsored this year by Acadia Athletics as the Horton Griffins Acadia Basketball Classic.
Due to Canada Games tryouts set for Dec. 28-29, the four-team tournament has been reduced to two non-consecutive days from the traditional three.
Action gets underway Dec. 27 at Horton, with C.P. Allen and Sir John A. Macdonald meeting at 10 a.m., followed by Auburn Drive and Horton at noon.
Afternoon games have Auburn and C. P. Allen playing at 2:30 p.m. and Sir John A. and Horton at 4:30 p.m.
The tournament then takes a recess until Dec. 30, with all of the games that day scheduled for Acadia’s War Memorial Gymnasium.
Horton and C.P. Allen kick the day off with a 10 a.m. meeting, followed by Auburn and Sir John A. at noon. The third place game is set for 2 p.m., and the championship, between the first and second place teams, for 4 p.m.