Kevin Bellamy and crew at PDCI just scored a major slam dunk.
The local basketball coach at Perth and District Collegiate Institute received the official word on Monday that they will be hosting the Ontario championship (OFSAA) in two years.
“This is big news for our school, our basketball program and for our town,” said Bellamy. “This is a tremendous honour. We are very excited.”
The championship will be great for the Town of Perth as the gymnasiums both high schools – PDCI and St. John Catholic High School – will be used for games.
“We appreciate the support of SJCHS,” Bellamy added.
To host the championship, Bellamy said they applied last spring to OFSAA – the Ontario Federation of Secondary Athletic Associations. They had to have a plan and a budget.
“A school from southwestern Ontario also applied to host but they recently cancelled their application giving us the winning bid,” Bellamy said.
PDCI hosted the OFSAA championship in 2004 and 2007. In ’04, they made it to the quarter finals. The host team gets an automatic bid to the tournament.
“The best part about hosting is the excitement from our students at school during the week of the championship,” he said.
The championship always falls the week before the March Break. It involves a banquet and 18 teams competing at two different sites. There will be a total of over 200 participants and 400 to 500 people making the trip to Perth that week from all areas of the province.
“This will bring a significant economic impact for the town of Perth,” he said.
To qualify a team has to win their regional championship.
For example, to get to OFSAA from Lanark County you have to win the LCIAA championship and then win the Eastern Ontario Championship (EOSSAA).
Bellamy has the boys on the court already with a pre-season exhibition game Saturday against Nicholson Catholic College from Belleville. This is a top double-A school in the province, making it to the quarter finals at OFSAA last year.
PDCI claimed a 54-46 win leading 33-19 at the half, and 44-28 after three quarters.
Eli Woods led PDCI with a game high 19 points.
Jon Tysick and Chris Popplewell both scored in double digits with 11 each.
“Alex Fillipoff played an excellent defensive game for the senior Blue Devils,” noted the coach.
Captain Woods added they had a great early season win.
“We played a tough, physical defensive game and shot the ball very well on offense,” Woods said. “Both good signs this early in the season.”
Bellamy said they are all “very excited” about the upcoming season.
There are 11 Devils on the bench with seven returning from last year’s team that won silver at EOSSAA.
Woods, Pavit Thind, Chris Popplewell and Fillipoff will be looked upon to provide leadership and experience to this year's senior team, the coach said.
This core group, (along with injured forward Kurtis James) were part of the 2009/2010 PDCI junior EOSSAA championship team.
“Our senior program has made it to OFSAA seven out of the past 11 years,” Bellamy said.
The recent senior teams have lost in the Lanark County finals the past three seasons. Before this the PDCI senior teams won the Lanark Country championship for 10 consecutive years.
The senior and junior teams begin league play on Dec. 4 at PDCI.
Both teams will host Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute RedHawks. The junior game will be at 5:30 p.m. followed by the seniors at 7 p.m.