Coach Aras Ruslys
7:30pm - 9:00pm
Coaches - Vytas Stoncius and John Strumila
Back: Coach Vytas Stoncius, Andrei Goussev, Robert Drauvilda, Michael Gritti, Nicholas Wasylk, Peter Stauskas, Coach John Strumila
Front: Vytas Simkus, Daniel Varela, Justin Strumila, Salius Grybas, Matas Jaglowitz
Years of Birth - 1989, 90 and 91
Coaches - Stasys Kuliavas and Aras Ruslys
Practices: Monday 8-10, Bishop Allen
Years of Birth - 1988, 89 and 90
Years of Birth - 1987, 88 and 89
20 Years in the making…
It had been a year since Toronto Ausra last played in a SALFASS Junior A Boys Championship game, last spring…but the last time Toronto Ausra won a SALFASS Junior A Boys Championship, none of the current player players were even born.
After a hard-fought battle at the 56th Annual SALFASS Games in Chicago, the Ausra Junior A (1987 and younger) basketball team were undefeated all weekend and emerged as Gold Medalists.
Boys A Champions
(click photo to view full size)
The tournament featured Toronto Ausra, Chicago Lituanica I, Chicago Lituanica II and Detroit Kovas. The first match pitted Ausra against perennial powerhouse and hometown team, Chicago Lituanica I. The contest was close early on, but Ausra proved to be too strong and prevailed by a score of 75-45. The next match had Ausra playing vs. Chicago Lituanica II, a team who had just beaten their older Lituanica I team by 27 points (84-57), and Detroit Kovas by a score of 85-20. Lituanica II was a team that liked to play up-tempo and was not shy to take the first available three-point shot. Ausra came out strong and pressed them from the opening tip. This Ausra Jr A team thrives when games are played up-tempo with a lot of transition play; and that is just what happened. It was a battle all game, but Ausra took the victory 98-81. With that win, they assured themselves a spot in Sunday’s championship game since they could finish no better than tied for first in pool play. This Ausra team takes nothing for granted, and although the game versus Detroit Kovas did not matter for rankings, the team wanted to keep their record untarnished and finish undefeated in pool play. That is just what they did, defeating Detroit Kovas 75-39. The first day of the tournament proved to be a great team effort as everyone played and contributed, both on and off the basketball court. This year’s team was a large roster of twelve, because of the spread in age groups. There were seven players from the older Junior A team, and five players from the younger team all playing together as one. It was a great show of team unity as the younger players cheered on their older teammates during most of the game, but when the younger ones had the opportunity to contribute on the floor – the older players were their biggest cheerleaders. It is truly a special team when one teammate can applaud the successes of another, in the ultimate goal of winning a championship.
After pool play finished, it was determined that Ausra would face Chicago Lituanica II in the Junior A championship game, on the brand new court at Pasaulio lietuviu centras on Sunday morning.
Most of this year’s Ausra team had traveled to Lithuania with Coach Stasys Kuliavas each of the last two summers, and had faced some tremendous competition overseas. They were reminded that this championship game would prove to be a battle from start to finish, and that their determination and desire to win would be tested.
Just as Coach Kuliavas had expected, the game was back and forth for a while. The defensive press that Ausra applied resulted in many Lituanica turnovers which Ausra was able to capitalize on, and score. Ausra emerged as champions, beating Lituanica 94-75. Transitionally Ausra ran very well, and out-rebounded the opponents on both ends of the floor. Big-men Matas Tirilis and Brandon Baronaitis were a force to be reckoned with all weekend, and provided a dominant edge inside the paint. Point guard Tomas Ycas ran the show all tournament long. Guards Bronson Vinerskis and Justas Greblikas both contributed solid minutes and played strong defense, while Mykolas Kamaitis was an effective substitute for Tirilis and Baronaitis. Junior A newcomer Tomas Siauciulis was called on to play some critical minutes. Ed Paulionis, Algis Puteris, Karolis Gladkovas and Lukas Simukenas all played well over the weekend and were great team contributors. Ausra guard, Evaldas Zabas had a record-setting championship game as he scored 50 points in the final and became the highest single game scorer in SALFASS Junior A history.
This year’s Ausra Junior A team enters the books as only the second Ausra team to have won a Junior A gold – the first was in 1986. Ausra is extremely proud of their achievement, and welcomes the Junior A Championship back to Toronto.
more SALFASS photos...
Coaches - Marty Yčas and Ron Underys
Practice Times - Mondays, 8:00 to 9:30 PM, Bishop Allen
Etobicoke Thunder Schedule 2005 - Click here to download the schedule- in Excel
Coaches - Ed Punkris, Ed Gataveckas and Andy Valickas
May 5 - On Monday May 5th the Aušra Boys A team
handily defeated the Hamilton Kovas Mens' B team in the championship game of the
Salfass Men's B League. In getting to the championship game they defeated a
previously undefeated Vytis team.
Congratulations to Coaches Ed Punkris and Ed Gataveckas and the young men. The next challenge for this team will be the Salfass tournament in Cleveland this weekend.
Feb 16 - Defeated Anapilis 48-33. Andrius Punkris and Aras
Petrauskas led Aušra with 10 points each.
Feb 21 - Trounced Hamilton Kovas 64-42. Paul Sergautis led Aušra scorers with 32 points.