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“So much hustle, desire” by Ken Fathers
All the world loves a winner and the Alpha Kai Omega (AKO) Fraternity, after 22 seasons of junior basketball sponsorship, is finally basking in the glory of winning a Canadian championship where it is appreciated the most —at home!
“This has to be the greatest thing that can happen to a fellow,” declared coach Doug Cowan after his Fratmen had dethroned the Mount Royal Junior College Cougars 103-84 Sunday afternoon at the Kennedy Collegiate gym.
“These 12 fellows are the greatest….they played and won three tough ball games, never once letting up. Sure, we were handicapped by a lack of height but we overcame that by giving 110 percent. Did you ever see another AKO team with that much hustle and desire?”
Cowan said that he saw the championship potential of this AKO team come to light in the provincial finals at Toronto one month ago.
“Hamilton has always been our nemesis in the playoffs through the years,” he noted, “so when we got to them in the Ontario final, I began to realize that this team had a chance to go all the way. They certainly didn’t disappoint me.”
The young AKO skipper was asked if any particular player was the floor or spiritual leader of the new champions.
“(Mike) Chalut and (Sam) Sasso are exciting ballplayers….the whole squad seemed to get a lift when they’re on the floor. I’d have to say (John) Smith and (Fred) Logan are our best two- way players. Logan ( who was named the most valuable player of the tournament) deserves all the credit he can get…all the fellows respect him so much.” Cowan was impressed with the caliber of play through the 10-game tournament.
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In this regard, he observed: “ except for Newfoundland, they all played a good brand of basketball. You couldn’t afford to regard any of the other teams too lightly.”
Would the Fratmen have been as successful if this tournament had been played in some other locale.
“ Of course, the home court means a lot to any team. It might have been tougher for us playing away from home but with our bench strength, I’m confident that we could have won this championship anywhere it was played.”
Mayor Frank Wansbrough, who piloted the Fratmen to their only other Canadian junior championship (at B.C., in 1960) was impressed with what he saw.
“I was connected with AKO basketball for years and can’t ever recall seeing 10 players perform so well together. Here’s a team with no super stars in it’s line up
but every player is a star in his own right.”
Mayor Wansbrough was asked how this year’s AKO team compared with his 1960 Dominion-title winning club.
“I don’t see any Ed Petryshyns or Jimmy Stewarts out there….but don’t overlook the fact that this game has changed a heck of a lot in the past 10 years. My ’60 club had a great deal more height but when it comes to hustle and dedication, I don’t think you can beat this present squad.”
The three –day could hardly be considered a box office smash. Total attendance was somewhere near the 1800 mark. Saturday night’s University of Victoria –AKO game attracted the largest gathering, 700.
AKO officials had announced prior to
the tournament that a minimum of 5,000 tickets had to be sold to cover guarantees and reach the break-even point. Seven members of the victorious AKO cast are University of Windsor students.
Reports were prevalent around the tournament scene over the weekend that the university may enter a junior team in the provincial playoffs next winter.
Such a team would have to play off with the Fratmen for the right to represent the area in the playoffs. Cowan expects to have seven holdover players in his cast when 1970-71 tryouts are held in October
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