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OTTAWA - The final game for the U16 Boys' Ontario Cup championship came down to a final shot but not before much intrigue and dominance by both teams for stretches of the game between Etobicoke Thunder and Motion Marksmen.

Etobicoke entered the gold medal match undefeated after pool play and having faced off against Motion several times thoughout the season and dating back to past seasons as well.

Etobicoke played in their Mother's Day special pink outlined jerseys and looked good on the floor including the effort of Liam Rietschin who towered over the competition and protected the paint. The Thunder executed and used their size advantage to lead 18-16 after the first frame.

A nice reverse then a three by Etobicoke's Aleks Stojanovic, followed by a three by Elias Panagiotopoulos opened up an 11-point. Etobicoke was doing a good job trying to take the crowd out of it because the Marksmen fans brought ear-splitting air horns. Elias followed that shot with another three and gave the horn blowers the classic "Jordan shrug." At the half the Thunder led 40-24.

"We knew what to expect and every time we've played we jump out early and they catch up and know they're going to be pushing back and there's a run coming," said Etobicoke coach Jordan Pickens. "It's just about sustaining the run and they've got two phenomenal guards in Loranzo and Brandon and you've got to slow those two guys down if you can and just play and hold on."

The Marksmen put together a huge run and swung the momentum in the third quarter by pressuring on defense for the length of the court, never giving up and showing they have the stamina. Star guard Lorenzo Barbieri scored 13 points in the third quarter alone. Capped by a three by Brandyn Talbot the game was tied 54-54 headed into the final frame.

"That's basically what they did last game and the game before that when we played them so we were ready," said Thunder centre Liam Rietschin.

Another three by Brandyn Talbot gave the Marksmen a 61-60 lead halfway through the fourth quarter but then two Marksmen players went to the bench with nose and ankle injuries on consecutive possessions stopping some of the momentum.

Etobicoke's Harman Dhanoa tied the game with a three before Marksmen's Makye Valentine converted an and-1 making it 69-65. Up by two with 20 seconds remaining the Marksmen just needed to inbound safely but turned it over and Etobicoke's Hasan Adu-Gyamfi scored plus the foul.

With one final play the Marksmen got a three point attempt that was heavily contested in the corner and rimmed out giving Etobicoke the nail-biting 70-69 victory.

"I give one hundred percent credit to the guys it's how hard they worked," said coach Pickens after the game. "We had a weird season where we didn't have a full practice with all 12 guys until two weeks before OBA's because we were either hurt or sick. But when we came together we came to work and this is exactly what we expected from them."

The close finish was a deep sigh of relief for Etobicoke who capped off Ontario Cup weekend with gold around their necks, as summed up by Liam Rietschin, "It was a really good experience we got to stay in the hotel together and come closer, some team bonding, and just a really good weekend overall."

Top Scorers

Etobicoke Thunder
Elias Panagiotopolous - 19 points
Liam Rietschin - 15 points
Harman Dhanoa - 11 points
Aleks Stojanovic - 10 points
Hasan Adu-Gyamfi - 9 points

Motion Marksmen
Lorenzo Barbieri - 27 points
Brandyn Talbot - 23 points


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