Harris Baffoe stepped up when his team needed it the most.
Coming off the bench, the man Georges Vanier students call “Chief” drained three-pointers at will.
“We were losing and I was looking at the score,” he said. “I said I have to get in there and shoot down some threes and I did it.”
Unfortunately for the young man nicknamed after his uncle — a former police chief in Africa — the Vikings were on the losing end in their city quarterfinal match against Western Tech, Feb. 15.
The loss concluded Vanier’s season, but coach Mike Milligan remained positive about the game even post mortem.
“They’re coming off a one-point loss in the North Regional finals against Westview, which was definitely a heart-breaking loss for the players,” he said. “It was a fantastic showing by the team, one of their best in a long time. I’m really proud of them to reach this far.”
Still, losing 56-43 to the Colts was disheartening.
“This was supposed to be our chance at redemption to go on to Citys if we could do something here,” Milligan said. “The fact that we were hosting the game we thought that was going to be a significant advantage, but we came out flat.”
By halftime, the Vikings were down 24-14.
Western Tech coach Ramesh Persaud credited his charges strong play with their 3-2 defence.
“We used it as a weapon,” he said. “We got a little bit of a lead and obviously my bench is a little short so I didn’t want to get into foul trouble.
“I wanted to play the zone to mix it up a little bit, give them a couple of looks,” he added. “But the man-to-man was working well, and that’s a credit to the guys and their athleticism.”
But when the third rolled around and Baffoe hit the court, Vanier more than doubled their score, netting 20 to Western’s 15, bringing the score to within six.
Baffoe and captain Shaquille Legall led the way with a morale-boosting 13 and 14 points respectively.
However a tightly called game by referees led to Legall fouling out and a moving screen was called.
It sapped the team’s energy in the fourth quarter.
“They reached a point in the game where I guess they figured they weren’t going to come back,” Milligan said. “They were down on themselves, seeing their captain on the bench.
“It’s hard to finish the comeback when you don’t have all your tools.”
The season is not all frowns though. sVanier finished atop the North Region’s East Division with a 7-3 record.
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