‘Medal at EOSSAA’: Carleton Place Bears earn LCIAA hoops cup over Perth Blue Devils

Carleton Place Bears
Perth’s Aaron Barrie (42 white) tries to block Carleton Place’s Evan Hebert in third quarter action in Perth on Feb. 12 during the senior boys Lanark County final. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.
Posted on: February 13, 2024

It was a showdown on the hard court that could have gone either way, but Carleton Place held a slim lead to win the Lanark County Interschool Athletic Association title. 

Powerhouses on both sides left the packed gymnasium at Perth and District Collegiate Institute in a frenzy as Carleton Place District High School tangled with the Blue Devils in the senior boys’ basketball championship on Tuesday, Feb. 13 to take the LCIAA trophy, 51-48. 

Carleton Place coach Mathew Bennett said the day was an exact replica of their regular season game. “You never play these guys when it doesn’t come down to one or two points,” he said. 

“I know all of his kids because they all play on my competitive team. They’re all a bunch of beautiful people.”

Bennett said he was happy to win, and he loves playing in Perth. 

“I had a feeling that whoever won this game today will medal at EOSSAA,” he said. 

Bennett praised Evan Hebert. “He’s the guy that drives our offence,” he said. “My son – Eli Bennett – drives the inside, and everybody did a part today.” He also spoke highly of Lochlann Carey, “a guy who only sees about three minutes a year, steal the game. He had a big steal, a big rebound, forced a turnover … it was beautiful.”

The Carleton Place Bears
The Perth-friendly crowd gets a close up look at the play on the court on Feb. 12 as Carleton Place’s Evan Herbert tries to keep the ball inbounds against the Blue Devils in the LCIAA championship. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.

The boisterous crowd – more than three-quarters of them Perth fans – gave off some great energy, Bennett said. “I feel like had we not played here in the regular season with the same amount of energy we wouldn’t have been equipped. But we were ready because of it.”

Bennett said PDCI is a well-coached team with Kevin Bellamy at the helm. 

“Four of their kids play on my competitive team and I know how good they are,” Bennett said. “They have one of their best players out – he had his foot in a cast, and I knew that was going to make it tough on them. I expected nothing less than what happened.”

Perth jumped out to a seven-point lead early in the game, but that was short lived as Carleton Place made short work of taking charge after the first quarter to lead 15-9. 

It was a battle to the half but PDCI couldn’t catch a break and trailed 31-24 at the half. 

Perth clawed their way back in the third to tie it up at 37 before Carleton Place rolled away with it with under two minutes remaining. 

Declan Heinz paced the Bears to the win with a 20-point game, including five treys. He sunk a trio of three-pointers in the fourth quarter to give the Bears the breathing room needed to seal the win. Evan Herbert added 12 points in the victory, while Eli Bennett sunk eight.

Aaron Barrie led the Perth scoring with 20 points. He was eight for 12 at the line. Lachlan Donnelly added 11.

Bellamy said it was not the outcome he expected as they’d gone 6-0 in regular league play, and 18-4 on the season. 

“They deserved to win that game, but we turned the ball over too many times. It might have been because of No. 4 (Evan Hebert), but I’m shocked at how much we turned the ball over,” Bellamy said. “Our shooting from the perimeter wasn’t good either. They hit a number of threes and I don’t even know if we had a couple.”

Bellamy said when he got into a style of game like they did, that wasn’t what he wanted. 

“We wanted high possession, high volume, a fast game, which we have been playing lately, but we couldn’t get into it with them,” he said. “Probably because they’re so good – their two best players are such competitors.”

Perth earned the win in their regular season meeting by one point. Since COVID, rules of league play have also changed. It used to be a best-of-three final series, and now it’s just a one-game final. They only play each team once now instead of twice.  

Carleton Place will represent the county at the Eastern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s ‘AA’ tournament on Feb. 21 and 22 at Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville. They have a Friday night game, then a Saturday morning game.

The Carleton Place Bears
The Carleton Place Bears earned the Lanark County senior boys basketball championship on Feb. 12 in Perth after a gruelling 51-48 upset over the Perth Blue Devils. Carleton Place will represent the county at the EOSSAA championships in Brockville at TISS on Feb. 21 and 22. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.

Team members include: Cameron Walker, Declan Hinze, Eli Bennett, Eli McClelland, Evan Herbert, Ewan Hemsworth, Haydon Hancock, Henry Grabe, Jake Brydges, Jaxon McVie, Joe Devlin, Lochlann Carey, Sam Lepage and Wyatt Marshall.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News