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St. Joseph’s Jaguars win 2024 OFSAA AA championship

Putting Sarnia, Ontario back on the map: No.7 ranked St. Joseph’s Jaguars dominate Ottawa’s Ashbury Colts to win 2024 OFSAA AA championship.

St josephs jaguars win 2024 ofsaa aa championship
St josephs jaguars win 2024 ofsaa aa championship

The No. 7 ranked St. Joseph’s Catholic High School Jaguars roared to their first provincial basketball title, by knocking off the No. 5 ranked and hometown favourite, Ashbury College, 58-46, in the Ontario Federation Student Athletic Association (OFSAA) AA boys gold medal game.

The Jaguars, who came into the tournament with a dominant 31-2 record, and eight returning players ran through the 20-team field to become the first team from Sarnia, Ontario to claim supremacy over the AA championship in 28 years.

Previously, only two schools from the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA) had reached the pinnacle: Innisdale Secondary School in 1996 and Barrie North C.I in 1993.

Trailing 8-0 early, the Jaguars roared back with a fiery 11-1 run, capped by a buzzer-beating three-pointer, to take a surprising 17-15 lead after the first quarter.

Playing with efficient ball movement, unselfish teamwork, and clutch shooting, St. Joseph’s held Ashbury to a mere eight points in the second quarter – their second lowest of the tournament.

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This dominance extended their lead to double digits and silenced the home crowd, sending the Sarnia representatives into halftime with a commanding 36-23 advantage.

Spearheaded by point guard Jalen Flindall, Ashbury attempted a comeback in the second half. However, the Jaguars remained poised, pounding the ball inside to their six-foot-six forward Will McCauley. This strategy paid off for head coach Drew Taylor, as they maintained a comfortable 49-36 lead after three quarters and cruised to a convincing 12-point victory.

St. Joseph’s High School Jaguars win 2024 OFSAA AA championship. Pose with championship banner in front Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario
St. Joseph’s High School Jaguars win 2024 OFSAA AA championship. Pose with championship banner in front Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario

Leading the charge for St. Joseph’s were Will McCauley and six-foot-four point guard Ryan Harris, who each poured in 17 points. Ashbury’s top scorer was Jalen Findall with 19 points.

The Jaguars’ dominance wasn’t limited to the championship game. They cruised in their debut game, defeating No. 13 ESC Theriualt 68-28 before taking down No. 10 seed Lo-Ellen Park 68-44 to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.

Their strong performance continued with a comfortable win over No. 20 All-Saints 73-57 in the last eight, followed by a narrow 58-56 victory against No. 6 Kings Christian to set the stage for their championship showdown with Ashbury.

This championship win marks a significant moment for basketball in Sarnia. It’s the first time the city has seen an OFSAA AA champion in nearly three decades. While there may not be a victory parade, the celebrations are sure to be loud and proud throughout Sarnia.

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The newly crowned champions will undoubtedly inspire a surge in youth basketball participation. The future of basketball in Sarnia is bright, thanks to the dedication and talent of the St. Joseph’s Jaguars and their coaching staff.

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