Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 17, 2024
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Hosts Hoist Eastern Ontario Title

U13 County Clippers are eyeing 2024 Ontario Cup after claiming EOBA title
<p>Ben Carlone and King Merchant lead the way through the celebratory handshake line after winning the U13 2024 EOBA AA championship April 7. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
Ben Carlone and King Merchant lead the way through the celebratory handshake line after winning the U13 2024 EOBA AA championship April 7. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

It was a clean sweep in their own backyard for the County Clippers U13 Boys basketball team.

The host Clippers made the PECI Gymnasium their own personal playground April 7-8, winning the Eastern Ontario Basketball Association’s U13 AA Championship.

The tournament win will go a long way to acclimating the young squad when they travel to St. Catherines this weekend where they will play for the 2024 Ontario Cup.

Clippers skipper Eli Carlone agreed the AA EOBA championship was a key stepping stone for his club.

“The team showed incredible focus, determination, and teamwork in achieving one of their goals of the season. Their skills and understanding of the game were on full display in front of a fantastic home crowd.”

After going undefeated in the preliminary rounds, the Clips met up with Ottawa’s Capital Xmen in finals Sunday evening. Thanks to a hot start, the Clippers led by as much as 18 points in the first half. When their shooting went cold in the second, the Clippers managed to fend off a comeback attempt by the Xmen by staying strong on the defensive boards. At the end of the game, the Clippers pulled away with ease, taking the gold medal contest 53-40. Haydn Maracle lead the Clippers with 17 points while Ben Carlone chipped in with 13.

Haydn Maracle. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Inside/outside

Mr. Maracle and fellow post player King Merchant have been towers of power for the Clips this season on both ends of the floor while Ben Carlone and Ethan Lad have been keys in the backcourt, distributing the ball at the appropriate times.  Koen Hill and Wesley Mulenga keep the Clippers uptempo offence moving while the coach pointed to versatility of Jack McKie and Mason Weaver as well as the defensive capabilities of Henry Lees, Noah Stevenson and Ryan Gregor as keys to the team’s success this season.

The Clippers kicked off the 2024 EOBA Championships in style, deflecting the Kingston Impact 59-47. Ben Carlone (16) and Mr. Hill (14) had little trouble making it through Kingston’s 2-3 zone defence and, when the path to the hoop was jammed, the Clippers were more than confident enough to fire daggers from beyond the arch. In total, a handful of County scorers launched successful three pointers in the game.

In their second game, the Clippers fired a tournament high 62 points in a clutch win over the Ottawa Shooting Stars. Despite the offensive output, the squad still needed some clutch rebounds and key defensive stops down the stretch as OSS was able to torch the Clips for 59. Mr. Mulenga (15) and Mr. Hill (14) led the way offensively. 

“OSS had some hot shooting and we were a little sloppy down the stretch but we were able to hang on and get a bye into the semifinals,” the coach said.

Ben Carlone. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

A rematch with Kingston proved to be no trouble on Sunday afternoon as the Clippers won 53-36, dominating the Impact at both ends of the court. The visitors tried to employ a triangle and 2 zone to stall the outside shooting which lead to Mr. Maracle (15) and Mr. Merchant (11) having big games in the paint and paving the way to the EOBA gold medal game. 

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 16 edition of The Picton Gazette
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