Knight has seen crazy bounces in hoops family
Basketball: Matt Vant Erve a leader at Holy Trinity Academy
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:00 am
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights boys were poised to take the lead in an exhibition basketball game against the Centennial Coyotes when suddenly things went sideways.
An errant pass went off the Knights’ Kyler Helinsky’s arm and the ball caromed off the glass. However, Holy Trinity Academy’s (HTA) veteran Matt Vant Erve followed the play, grabbed the rebound and laid the ball in to give the Knights a 52-51 lead with four minutes left. The Knights never lost the lead en route to their 66-58 victory over the 4A school on Jan. 30 at Holy Trinity Academy.
Sure it was a weird play, but who knows? Maybe Vant Erve had seen hundreds of strange rebounds while goofing off with his dad and brother on their family driveway or at the HTA gym.
“We are a basketball family,” Vant Erve said. “Zach and I played a lot. We used to play one-on-one here (at HTA) because dad is a teacher and we also have a hoop at home. Whenever we could we would compete against each other and my brother would always give me tips.”
All those years of shooting hoops and listening to his brother and his dad, HTA JV boys coach Gerry, have paid off by giving Knights coach Sam Aiello a basketball brain on the floor.
It was apparent in the victory over Centennial. The Knights had a six-point lead with about 1:40 left when HTA’s Grade 10 phenom guard Dylan Wheeler brought the ball up the floor like Usain Bolt coming out of the blocks. Vant Erve had to yell “Whoa, whoa, whoa” to the eager rookie.
“I remember it vividly,” Aiello said after the game. “Matt is one of our leaders and he understood not to hurry, to eat up some of the shot clock. He is very intelligent and understands the game. That’s what we want. Leaders who are respected by their teammates.”
Vant Erve is focused mentally during the game, but on the court he’s all over the place. He’s a forward, but it was he and Wheeler who brought the ball up the court in order to break the Coyotes’ press.
His role has changed from last season, when as a Grade 11 student, he was used as an impact offensive player coming off the bench.
“This year I think my game is focused more toward defensive rebounding and a point producer as well,” he said. “Kyler (fellow Grade 12 player Kyler Helinsky) and I are stressing leadership in the dressing room and coach is helping us with that a lot.”
The former offensive spark now gets charged up over defence.
“I love defence,” he said. “It’s one of those things that can change a game, but if you don’t play defence, you can really hurt your team… Sometimes the offence just isn’t going to be there and if you can’t score, you have to stop the other team from scoring.”
He said he is hoping to be playing well into the basketball season.
He said the Knights’ goal is to make it to the Foothills Athletic Council final and give their cross-town rival the Foothills Falcons a run for their money.
Vant Erve said he believes the Knights can go farther in the 3A South Central Zone tournament than some may think.
“If we play hard and stick to our game, I think we can go far,” he said.
Vant Erve is also a leader in the classroom. He just completed writing his English 30 and Biology 30 final exams. He plans to attend the University of Calgary next year — where he will join his brother Zach and possibly renew their fraternal rivalry during Thursday night rec ball.
Vant Erve and Helinsky led the Knights in scoring with 17 points each against Centennial.
The Knights finished second in the Olds Spartans tournament on Feb. 1-2. They lost to the George McDougall Mustangs 77-67 in the final.
Dylan Wheeler led the team is scoring with 17 points. Jordan Lee finished with 10.
HTA advanced to the finals by beating the host Olds Spartans 74-43. The Knights overcame a 17-5 early deficit to the pumped up home team. Vant Erve finished with 16 points. Helinsky had 13 points.
HTA opened the tourney by downing the Sundre Scorpions 82-73. Helinksy had 22 points and James Hielema had 13.
HTA improved to 3-2 in the Foothills Athletic Council by beating the Highwood Mustangs 55-51 Feb. 4 in High River.
The Knights’ next league game is likely a preview of the league’s final as they host the Foothills Falcons on Feb. 13 at Holy Trinity Academy in Okotoks at 7:15 p.m.