Momentum was kind to the Colonel Gray Colonels in its 73-64 win over the Charlottetown Rural Raiders on Tuesday.
Twice the Colonels rode late quarter runs to grab leads and eventually seal the gold medal over the defendingPrince Edward Island School Athletic Association Domino's senior AAA boys basketball champs at UPEI.
In the third, Gray guard Matt Connolly's two straight three-point baskets spurred an 8-2 run and moved the Colonels into a 51-44 lead after three quarters.
Then Gray pulled off an 18-7 run in the fourth to propel it to a 70-59 lead with 1:26 left in the game and salted away the victory.
Alex Campbell, Colonels guard and tourney MVP, said Connolly's work was the shifting point.
"We went on a run in the third. Matt Connolly had a few threes. We had the mentality to stop them and score, stop and score," said Campbell, who led Gray with 26 points. "Coaches (J Hammer, Lucas Squires and Greg Morrison) drew up a great game plan. It was textbook."
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Gray had first and second quarter leads of 15-10 and 35-29, respectively, and countered Rural's comebacks with timely shots and solid foul shooting, going 6-of-8 in the final 2:18.
Rural had its chances, however, thanks to 32 points from Adam Ryan, who after being fouled outside the three-point line by Gray's Yousef Sefau, hit all three free throws to tie the game 52-52 at the 7:40 mark of the fourth.
But it wasn't enough as Gray completed two straight three-point plays during the 18-7 run and kept Ryan and company at bay.
"I just lost it, man," said Campbell, a Grade 11 student. "I threw the ball up in the air, started hugging my teammates. It's the greatest feeling ever, no better feeling."
Connolly finished with 20 points while Sefau added 16 points and 15 rebounds. Campbell nabbed 14 boards.
Rural's Isaac Kirkland and Zack Wall each had 12 points.
Earlier in the day, the Three Oaks Axemen determined the bronze medal game versus the Westlsie Wolverines in the first four minutes running to a 13-2 lead, stretching it to 28-7 after the quarter and eventually winning 83-55.
Matt Tanton had 31 points for Three Oaks, Logan MacDougall drained 17 points on the back of five three-pointers and Chris Richard chipped in nine points.
For the Wolverines, Connor Herget went for 31 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks. Elon Wilkie chipped in 10 points and Mackenzie Brennan had nine.
The PEISAA AAA boys basketball all-stars:
Adam Ryan,Charlottetown Rural.
Isaac Kirkland, Charlottetown Rural.
Yousef Sefau,Colonel Gray.
Alex Campbell, Colonel Gray.*
Conner Herget, Westisle.
Matt Tanton, Three Oaks.
A look at the past winners of the Prince Edward Island senior AAA basketball championships.
2015 Charlottetown Rural
2014 Charlottetown Rural
2013 Charlottetown Rural
2012 Three Oaks
2011 Three Oaks
2010 Charlottetown Rural
2009 Charlottetown Rural
2008 Charlottetown Rural
2007 Colonel Gray
2006 Colonel Gray