Boys' Basketball Banquet a Success
By Ben Aronson
The Canton High School Boys Basketball team wrapped up a season to remember on April 8th with their end of the year banquet. It was held in the CHS cafeteria and catering was brought by the Chateau. As parents and kids alike ate their Italian cuisine, the recap of the Freshman and Junior Varsity team’s season began.
The freshman team had an impressive season, going 9-6, the best season yet for 3rd year coach Mike Adams. Coach Adams emphasized the dedication and hardwork that his team brought into the gym day in and day out.
In regards to rewards, Eric Mischler received the Commit Compete Canton Award which is awarded to the player who embodies canton basketball the best on and off the court, while Matt Giglio received the teammate of the year. Next came Pat Frazer, the JV Coach entered his 7th season in the basketball program and was not only in charge of coaching the JV team but also running the scout team for varsity practices. While JV didn’t win a game, there was clear progress from the beginning to the end of the season, and as Head Coach Ryan Gordy says “When varsity wins, we all win”, and there is no doubt that the Varsity team wouldn't have been as successful without the tremendous scout team that the JV team played.
Sophomore Javens Lucas led the team averaging 11.7 points per game while Junior Ben Aronson led the team with 25 three pointers. At the end the speech it was sophomore Michael Dorcelus who took home the Commit Compete Canton award and Junior Ben Aronson who took home the Teammate of the year award for the third season in a row.
The JV and Freshman players have the potential to make big impacts at the varsity level if they work hard enough. Following these speeches, dessert was served and while people were munching down cake, brownies, and cookies, a season wrap up video created by Ben Aronson was released, and the trailer for Pat LaBelle's documentary called “Soldier X” was shown to everyone in attendance. Both these videos got everyone fired up and shortly after head coach Ryan Gordy took to the podium with plenty to highlight.
How can one person summarize such an incredible season for the varsity team? The team went 16-5, did not lose at home in the regular season, and above all broke a 26 year drought to win their first league championship since 1992. Yes you read that right 1992. The season as a whole was summarized by the 7th year head coach recapping a truly magical season by his team.
All 4 captains ( Devin Foster, Austin Maffie, Tony Harris, Jake Verille) were honored with awards from media sources throughout the State. Senior Captain Jake Verille won the practice player of the year award and Senior captain Tony Harris was also honored for being the all time leading rebounder after surpassing Canton basketball legend Sam Larson. In addition senior captain Austin Maffie took home the Commit Compete Canton award, senior Jake Connolly took home the teammate of the year award, Junior Paul Corcoran took home defensive player of the year, Senior Matt Warburton took home most improved, and Junior captain Devin Foster won his 2nd straight team MVP award.
However the largest takeaway from the banquet was a quote from head coach Ryan Gordy, it's simply “ The secret to basketball is it's not about basketball”. This quote was applied directly to the banquet when Coach Gordy announced that Junior Xavier Machuga would be the first named Captain for the Team next season.
Eleven months before the banquet Xavier had suffered a life altering Brain aneurysm and was in a fight for his life. However Xavier fought everyday to get better and while he was fighting he was providing motivation and inspiration for the entire team. The season was dedicated to Xavier and the slogan “ Soldier X” was on the back of the team’s shooting shirts.
Flash forward to the banquet and Xavier walked up to the podium without a cane, under his own power and provided powerful and moving words in a heartfelt speech about his entire journey through his injury. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as X pulled on the heart strings of everyone listening. Sure this season will be remembered for the great season on the court, but that secret that Coach Gordy talked about, the one where basketball isn't about basketball couldn’t be more true. This season was about belonging to something bigger than one person, playing for X, forming memories and friendships that will last forever, and putting Canton Basketball back on the map.
Thank you seniors Austin Maffie, Jake Connolly, Jake Verille, Tony Harris, and Matt Warburton you turned this program around and will forever be alumni.
Congrats to the varsity team again on being Davenport Champions, and congrats to Xavier Machuga on being named Captain.
Expectations are high for next year, and the dogs look to have another Championship season.