SMCS Captures Top Prize in Annual Basketball Tournament
The St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Sr. Basketball team captured gold in the 61st annual Dan Prendergast Senior Basketball Invitational tournament, which highlighted some of the best teams in the province, from Ottawa’s Ashbury College to Kitchener’s St. Mary’s High School.
“The tournament is named after our dear coach, Dan Prendergast, OSM, who was more than a coach to many of us,” says Kirt Charter ’82, teacher and coach of the Sr. Basketball team. “He would have been happy to see the level of skill and competition displayed in this year’s tournament.”
Prendergast served the SMCS community for over 50 years in various capacities, including teaching, counselling, administration, and coaching basketball for 27 years.
Despite the new and changing landscape of Canadian basketball with a profusion of ‘prep’ teams across the country, this tournament remains one that many coaches hold in high esteem and continues attracting top programmes.
“I think our student-athletes understand the legacy and the importance of winning our own tournament, which we hadn’t done since 2015,” he says. “Luckily, this is the time of year when coaches are banking on everything coming together at the right time for peak performance. Our defense was solid all tournament long, but particularly stellar in the semi-final game against a well-coached and talented Ashbury team.”
The tournament took place over three days from January 11 to 13, 2024, on the Paul Dignan Court at SMCS and brought in competitive teams from 11 schools across Ontario.
“In the championship game, the behind-the-scenes news was the physical state of tournament MVP, Phoenyx Wyse, Grade 11, who was playing provincial level volleyball games in between tournament games, as well as the readiness of the game’s leading scorer, Ryan Walsh, Grade 11, who rolled his ankle during warm-ups,” says Charter.
The Blue Raiders got off to a tumultuous start, anchored by their defense, leading to a 14-point first quarter lead. However, the team knew St. Martin had played a strong second half in their previous games. True to form, St. Martin came back to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Behind some good shooting and consistent defense down the stretch, SMCS managed to pull away and secure the victory.
“Coach (Matt) Pagano ’92 and I are very proud of the effort and the team play we saw displayed and are looking forward to seeing the players execute at that level and better as we enter the second half of the season,” he says.