It was an outstanding evening of basketball at St. Mary's High School on Thursday night as the Orangeville-based Athlete Institute took on the Eagles in a spirited exhibition game before a packed house of 400-plus spectators.
Led by Kitchener's Jamal Murray, the Orangeville squad scored an 84-75 game that was much closer than some observers had expected it would be.
The six-foot-five Murray scored 22 points in the win and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk in the fourth quarter that left many in the crowd shaking their heads.
The Eagles received an outstanding game from Tesloth Simon, who scored 30 points in the hard-fought loss.
The game was a physical affair and the referees let both teams play, which made it exciting for spectators and players alike.
A number of WCSSAA and District 8 coaches were in the crowd for Thursday's game and one suggested to me the Eagles would have beaten Toronto Oakwood by 20 points in the final of the Heinbuch Classic had they turned in the sort of performance they did against Athlete Institute.
I think he's right.
* * *
With Thursday's game out the way, the next exhibition I'd like to see would be an all-Eagles affair between St. Mary's and St. John's-Kilmarnock.
SJK is ranked No. 2 in the country by northpolehoops.com, while St. Mary's checks in at No. 13.
Somebody please make this happen.
* * *
Speaking of the national rankings, Cameron Heights checks in at No. 23. Sir John A. Macdonald earned an honourable mention along with Eastwood.
Surprisingly, the Grand River is not on the list but is currently the only undefeated team in WCSSAA and has wins over SJAM and Eastwood.