The combined team of Northern Secondary School Stars and École secondaire publique Nipissing Ouest Eagles lost the Nipissing District Athletics (NDA) senior boys championship 61-42 to the Chippewa Raiders on March 22.
NSS/ESPNO was able to keep it close in the first half, heading into the break trailing 27-25. But the Raiders pulled away down the stretch by crashing the boards and piling on the second chance points to open up a 46-36 lead after the third quarter.
“They’ve got good guys on their team, we kind of fell apart defensively in the second half but we played as good as we could,” said Corey Boochoon, a senior from Northern. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group of guys.”
Boochoon led the way offensively for NSS/ESPNO, scoring 17 points. Brad Lavoie added 13 and Jaxon Sheppard, Cody Coote and Derick Eastlake rounded out the scoring with five, four and three points respectively.
“We could keep them close to half but it’s tough,” said coach Kiley Moulton. “We’ve got a much shorter bench, we’re a small school, about 180 kids, and they’re a school of 1,500.”
The final was also the first time all season that fans were allowed to attend, so the Chippewa gym was packed with supporters for both sides.
“It was crazy. We had a bunch of people here, their fan section was going nuts, ours was going nuts, it was really nice,” said Boochoon of the atmosphere.
It was a bittersweet moment for NSS/ESPNO, as the end of the game also marked the end of an era for a this tight-knit team.
“The guys on my team, I’ve taught and coached these kids since Grade 4,” said Moulton. “Eleven out of the 12 came from my elementary school, so I’ve followed them all the way from the beginning until now; it’s a pretty big deal. To see these guys, most of them are going off to college or university next year, so that was a nice feeling, and their parents are very proud of them.”
It was a great final season for the group: not only did they make the NDA finals, but they won the NOSSA B Championship in Mattawa earlier this month.