POINT guard Elliot Taylor knew just what his Oak Park Raiders needed to do last night. Still, the Raiders sophomore didn't breath a sigh of relief until the final buzzer sounded in their Milk AAAA provincial high school boys semifinal against the Sturgeon Heights Huskies.
"We just had to play our game, run the floor, box out, play defence and hit," said Taylor, who drained 22 points as the Raiders defeated the Huskies 72-62 to advance to today's final against the St. Paul's Crusaders, who hammered the Dakota Lancers 83-71 in second semifinal of the night.
Dave Kohler, a 6-foot-8 post, had 13 points for the Raiders and Graeme Fardoe added 10 to the cause.
The Huskies got a 22-point performance from Amarjit (A.J.) Basi, 13 from Dharmpal Brar and 12 each from Tanner Jordan Lambert and Eben Rawluk.
Six-foot-7 post Tanner Draward was unstoppable for the Crusaders, scoring 43 points.
Draward said it's been a while since he scored as many points in one game, adding things went well for the Crusaders Friday night. "We were doing a good job going inside and it was working for us. I have to go for my teammates getting it inside, because without them, I couldn't have done it."
Also scoring for St. Paul's was Amir Ali with 14 and Joey Nitychoruk with 12.
The Lancers were led on the scoreboard by Brett Carter with 26 and Philip Labongo with 22.
"There was no relaxing against this team," Taylor said of Sturgeon Heights. "They're a strong team and they shoot the ball really well. We had to give it 110 per cent, no matter how much time was left on the clock.
Raiders' head coach Randy Kusano is high on his point guard. "Elliot is a tremendous player. He's one of the best guards in the province and he's only in Grade 11. He can do it all. He brings good defence, has a tremendous court presence and he's a real leader on the court for us."
Regardless of their 4-0 record against Sturgeon Heights during the season, Taylor said the couldn't take them for granted, as every game was close. "Nothing came easy."
Looking ahead to tonight's final, Draward is expecting the showdown with Oak Park to be a barn-burner. "Over the season, we were 1-1 against them. We have a game plan for tomorrow and we know what to do. We took them last week in the conference playoffs, so we'll stick to the same thing (game plan)."
All the marbles are on the line tonight, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Investors Group Athletic Centre.