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Carter Matheson quietly lifts Frontenac to win over Bayridge

December 11, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Carter Matheson can dump perhaps the politest double-digit scoring performance on a team that an opponent may every see.

He did it yesterday, finishing with 25 points as the Frontenac Falcons defeated the Bayridge Blazers 56-39 in a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior boys basketball game at Bayridge.

Matheson scored 11 of his points in the first quarter, a period during which his team trailed 7-2 at one point. An 8-0 run to end the quarter and an 11-of-13 spurt to start the second turned that five-point deficit into a 16-point lead that was never seriously challenged.

He finished the half with 17 of his team’s 36 points.

“He can be one of the top three players in the league, no question about it,” Falcons coach Suche James said of Matheson. “I believe he’s a university-calibre player but he flies under the radar because he’s so unassuming. I don’t think he gets the recognition he deserves.

“He’s just starting to get to the point where he understands he can be a little more dominant when he wants to be. I’m hoping that he grows into that role as we move along.”

James said Matheson does everything well, does not lack for confidence and is well liked by his teammates. “He just doesn’t get noticed.

“He does everything so quietly. He can score 20 on you and you wouldn’t even notice. I’ve never coached a kid who is so good and so unassuming. Never. He is the nicest kid, quiet … unassuming almost to a fault. That’s just his nature.”

James fairly salivates at the thought of the type of player Matheson could be if could assert himself more.

“We have to draw that meanness out of him,” James said, smiling, “but he just doesn’t have a mean thing in his body.

“Playing with a little edge will help him and I think he’s starting to learn that. Sometimes it’s a matter of maturity. You just need time to figure that out.”

It didn’t take long for James to detect something was wrong with his team Tuesday. He called his first timeout after just 25 seconds had been played.

“We weren’t executing the game plan on that first possession. We let them hit a wide-open three and if the game was going to continue that way we were going to lose,” he said. “That was the message. (The players) knew exactly what needed to get done and they didn’t do it in that first possession.”

Though the win was Frontenac’s second without defeat in league play, it was just their third victory in eight games overall.

“Our last game at (the Queen’s Invitational tournament on the weekend) was the first time we felt maybe we’re going to be OK,” James said, lamenting the season lost last year to the job action by the county’s public secondary school teachers.

“We have a lot of new basketball players, guys that played in Grade 9 but didn’t play at all last year, and didn’t play club ball,” he said. “We have hardly any club kids. They’re all high school kids who lost a year last year and we really notice it with the skill level … but we’re coming out of it now.”

With Frontenac dominating the defensive glass, the Falcons went on a 12-3 run early in the second half that put the game decisively out of reach. When the lead reached 23 points, 56-33, with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter, James called time out. The Falcons didn’t score again and effectively killed the final two minutes of the game on two possessions where they clearly weren’t looking to take a shot.

Besides Matheson’s 25 points, Tristan Halladay and Daray Thomas came off the bench to score nine and eight points, respectively, for Frontenac. Derek Platt, who hit three three-point baskets, had 15 points for Bayridge.

At La Salle, the Black Knights remained undefeated at 3-0 with a 60-47 win over the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers, who were playing their first league game of the season. After scoring 10 straight points near the end of the first half, the home team took a 35-20 lead into the intermission.

After growing the lead to 28 points — at 56-28 late in the third quarter — the Knights began to substitute extensively and in fact La Salle was outscored 16-4 in the fourth quarter.

Knights coach Karen Graham said the wish at that point was to get some of her bench players into the game — “a lot of the guys have been practising all the time and not seeing a lot of floor time” — in a bid to maintain some defensive intensity.

“Sometimes if you get a lead it’s hard to maintain that intensity,” she said.

Among those reserve players, Braden Elliott shone, hitting three consecutive three-point shots in the third quarter.

“He played good defence, too,” Graham said. “He needed confidence so it was good for him to get out and do that. He did well.”

Regi coach Ed Kenney remains patient with a team that has had just had just six practices and played only three games, largely due to the overlap in personnel from his team and a senior boys volleyball team that, as is its custom, ended a long season at the provincial championship tournament a little more than two weeks ago.

“I’ve tried everything (to allow for the short turnaround in seasons),” Kenney said. “We’ve practised a little bit; we haven’t practised; we’ve had early tryouts and shut it down. This year, we decided to start when (the volleyball team) was done and that’s fine. We’re getting our work in and the kids are cognizant of (the situation) and they come to practice ready to work.

Kenney and fellow coach Paul Medeiros said they were pleased with the way their players performed in their league debut.

“Often Paul and I would look at each other and say, ‘We will fix that’ or ‘That will get better with some practice.’ Defensively we need to work on our team play quite a bit but reps and games and practice that will help.

“We’ll be OK. It’s a very equitable league. Right now is important but February is really important and we’ll be ready by then.”

Jesse Graham scored 14 points for La Salle, all of them in the first half, when La Salle shot better than 50 per cent — 15-for-29 — from the field. His brother, Tanner, added 12 points, all of them in the second half.

Bruce Burns hit three three-pointers in the first quarter, as the Knights connected nine times in all from beyond the arc. Nine different players scored at least one point for La Salle.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the Loyalist Lancers and Sydenham Golden Eagles each evened their record at 1-1, LC with a 55-51 win over the Golden Hawks in Napanee and Sydenham with a 67-15 home-court win over the winless Granite Ridge Gryphons.

On Monday, the Kingston Blues gained their second straight win to start the season, 59-30 over the Queen Elizabeth Raiders, who fell to 0-3.

Play resumes Thursday with Loyalist visiting Holy Cross, also 1-1; Bayridge, 2-1, at Regi, La Salle entertaining Napanee, 0-2, in its fourth straight home game and KC at Granite Ridge.

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