One Down- One to Go: Raptors 905 defeat the College Park Skyhawks in the first of a back-to-back

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(Mississauga, ON) The Raptors 905 faced the College Park Skyhawks, Monday night at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, defeating them, 124-120. It was another close one for the 905, a very scrappy game, which was not ideal or what coach Jama Mahlalela expected down the stretch.

This was a significant game for them and a crucial win, as both teams had the same record in the East and are both competing for a playoff spot. This win means that they are that much closer to clinching a spot in the postseason.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Justin Reyes being one of the standout players this evening, considering he hasn’t been playing much this season. He had 16 points six rebounds and was a key-factor in the last few seconds of the match, scrapping for the ball on a key possession. Though tonight was obviously a solid night for Reyes, he now has to figure out how to make this type of performance a consistent one going forward, and not an outlier.

Facing a team back-to-back can allow the players and their coaches to analyze film after coming off a recent game. Though they did win this match, there are still several things the 905 may need to adjust to help them to try to win the next one as well. When you play a team twice in a row, everything is still fresh in the minds of the players.

905 starting shooting guard Michael Bethea Jr. had three early fouls in the 1st quarter, two of which came in the first minute. But he was able to not commit fouls after that and contributed eight points and three rebounds in the game. His dedication and determination to show his skills is always felt on the court. Bethea Jr. has this capacity to channel his emotions in just the right way that makes everyone around him feel his desire to help his team succeed.

Henry Ellenson was back to his usual self after a few underwhelming performances in recent games. He ended the game with a double-double, 24 points 10 rebounds plus six assists. The majority of his points, rebounds, and assists came in the first half.

There were a few times where the game was tied, but College Park was never able to take a lead after the start of the first quarter. The 905 could have done a better job shutting down their offense, but not allowing them to take the lead was also important. Especially since they have had a lot of trouble closing out games in the past, it seems like they’ve figured out how to prevent that from happening in their most recent games, even if it was close, the Raptors were able to hang on and win.

Early in the 4th quarter, the 905 created their biggest lead of the game at 13 points, 100-87, which was a result of a bucket from Devin Robinson. Robinson, who missed the last game due to injury, came back and had 21 points including a perfect 8/8 on his free-throws, despite being a 60% free-throw shooter on the season.

College Park definitely did not go down without a fight, managing to make it a two-point game with seconds left in the fourth. Watson then missed two free throws for the 905, which could have allowed the Skyhawks to tie the game with a basket on the next possession, but it was Reyes who saved the day by scrapping to get the ball and preserve the win.

Tyler Ennis had a double-double, with 21 points 10 assists along with seven rebounds.

In the return match, the Raptors 905 and the College Park Skyhawks will face each other again on Wednesday March 11th, at 7:30 pm ET. at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

Written by Noora Popal. Check out Noora on Twitter

FIBA Americup 2021 Qualifier Game Relocated to UOIT & Durham College

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FIBA AMERICUP 2021 QUALIFIER GAME RELOCATED TO THE CAMPUS RECREATION AND WELLNESS CENTRE AT ONTARIO TECH UNIVERSITY AND DURHAM COLLEGE

(Oshawa, ON) – Due to unforeseen, technical circumstances, the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifier Game has been relocated to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre at Ontario Tech University and Durham College.

Tickets will be honoured at the new location:

– Lower bowl tickets will become valid as general admission seating in the stands.

– Those with accessible seating, will be contacted by the ticket office for arrangements

– Limited tickets will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis at the door.

– Ontario Tech University and Durham College students can purchase a general admission ticket for the discounted rate of $15.25 with valid student ID.

Questions regarding ticketing for the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifier Game can be directed to the Tribute Communities Centre Ticket Office at 905-438-8811.

Canada will face Dominican Republic tomorrow, Friday, February 21 at 7:05 PM ET before travelling to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for a rematch on Monday, February 24 at 7:00 PM ET.  Fans can also catch the action live on DAZN.

Teams will play each other twice, home and away, during the qualifying phase with three windows set for February 21-24 2020, November 2020 and February 2021.

The FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers will feature 16 teams from the Americas zone divided into four groups of four teams.

Canada is in Group C along with Cuba, Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Group A consists of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela; Group B includes Brazil, Panama, Paraguay and Uruguay; and Group D includes Bahamas, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the USA.

The top three finishing teams in each Group will earn a qualifying berth in the FIBA AmeriCup 2021.

FIBA AMERICUP 2021 QUALIFIERS SCHEDULE:

February 21, 2020 – Canada vs. Dominican Republic (Oshawa, Ont.)

February 24, 2020 – Canada at Dominican Republic

November 26, 2020 – Canada at Cuba

November 29, 2020 – Canada at U.S. Virgin Islands

February 19, 2021 – Canada vs. Cuba (TBD)

February 22, 2021 – Canada vs. U.S. Virgin Islands (TBD)

Content & Photo Courtesy Canada Basketball

Five Canadians Named All-Stars at Basketball Without Borders Global Camp

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(Chicago, USA) – The sixth edition of the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp came to a close in Chicago on Sunday as five Canadians were named to all-star teams.

On the boys side, all four Canadians – Charles Bediako, Bennedict Mathurin, Josh Primo and Olivier-Maxence Prosper – earned the honours, while Merissah Russell was selected as an all-star on the girls side after three days of skills development and games.

Russell was also honoured with the Patrick Baumann Sportsmanship Award, handed out by the former FIBA Secretary General’s son Paul Baumann.

Canadians also participated in the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp this past weekend at Quest Multisport as part of NBA All-Star 2020.

A total of 64 boys and girls from 33 countries and regions came together at the NBA All-Star Weekend for the annual camp which is organized in collaboration by FIBA and NBA.

Basketball Without Borders Global Camp (64 participants)

Players and coaches led campers through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, skill development stations, shooting and skills competitions, 5-on-5 games, and life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication. The final day featured a single-elimination tournament culminating with the boys and girls championship games.

The campers also had the opportunity to attend the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night and the 69th NBA All-Star Game at the United Center.

Among the record 30 former Basketball Without Borders campers on opening-night NBA rosters for the 2019-20 season (active and inactive), 14 participated in the BWB Global Camp, including Canadians RJ Barrett (New York Knicks; Canada; BWB Global 2017), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder; Canada; BWB Global 2016) and Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets; Canada; BWB Global 2015).

BWB Global Campers at the Chicago Bean

BWB, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, has reached more than 3,600 participants from 133 countries and territories since 2001, with 69 former campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents. The NBA and FIBA have staged 61 BWB camps in 38 cities across 30 countries on six continents. More than 310 current and former NBA, WNBA and FIBA players have joined more than 240 NBA team personnel from all 30 NBA teams to support BWB across the world.

With files from NBA and FIBA

Courtesy Canada Basketball

Photos Courtesy Canada Basketball Twitter via @NBAAcademyPR Twitter

Laurentian downs U of T 96-78 lead by Kadre Gray’s strong play

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(Toronto, ON) The Laurentian Voyageurs came out victorious in the first of a set of weekend back-to-back games in Toronto. The Voyageurs, lead by Kadre Gray’s twenty three points and 9 rebounds were able to out pace the U of T Varsity Blues 96-78. Gray commented after the game “We had a game plan to focus on Evan (Shadkami), we didn’t want him getting too many comfortable looks out there , we were able to contain him, rebound and run the floor, It was a lot of fun out there.”

On the Varsity Blues side it was one of the last games for fifth year Vaughan native, Chris Barrett. Barrett, who attended Vaughan Secondary School averaged 11 points per game this year with 4 assists while shooting 37% from the three-point line,  “I’m nothing but grateful for my time at U of T. I appreciate everything that they’ve given me here, it’s been a great five year journey-you win some games and lose games but overall it’s been a great experience.” Barrett also shared comments about his plans for the future, “I would love to get into training afterwards, with my stature I’ve had to work a lot at the mental parts of the game. I’ve started doing some things already and I feel I have a lot to share with the kids out here and develop the future of Canadian basketball.”

Battle for the boards

The game started off with a tough defensive pace, and the Blues were able to force six first quarter turnovers and convert 4/6 three pointers to finish the opening frame in a 19-19 tie against the favored Voyageurs. The Blues would struggle from the field in the second quarter, missing all four of their three-point attempts and going 4/12 overall, scoring only 15 points in the quarter. The Voyageurs stretched their lead in the second quarter with the hot hand of Curtis Gordon, a third year player out of Guelph, who hit three momentum shifting three point shot going down the closing stretch of the first half. The Voyageurs would close the half up 47-34 lead by Gray’s 11 points and Gordon’s nine.  The third frame got out of hand with Gray demonstrating why he is one of the favored candidates to win the U Sports Basketball Player of the Year, which would be his third such accolade. The fourth year guard, who declared for the NBA draft last year, has really left a mark on OUA Sports and Canadian Basketball.

“The whole process with the draft last year was a blessing for me,“ said Gray, “ To see for myself what it takes to play at the professional level was eye opening. It gave me a chance to get back in the lab and keep working on my game.”

A product of Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto, Gray has also represented Canada on a national level at last year’s Napoli 2019 Summer Universiade Tournament in Italy and was coached by Wildred Laurier’s Justin Serresse along with U of T coach John Campbell.

As Laurentian stretched the lead in the third quarter you could hear the energy from the Sudbury faithful in the crowd.

“I think we have the best fans in U Sports,” said Gray.“ I love that they travel, my family and friends come to whatever games they can to support, it really means a lot.”

Laurentian finished the quarter with a 70-44 lead, which was a tough deficit for the Blues to come back from. Blues guard Shadkami commented after the game “It’s been a tough year overall, we need to be more consistent with the effort, throughout the year we’ve had a few close games against good teams slip away. I’m committed to doing everything I can to get us over the hump.” Shadkami continued, “I see a lot of talent when I look around this locker room, I’m excited to see what can happen once we start gelling.”

The Blues would outscore the Voyageurs 30-23 in the fourth, however it would be too little too late as the damage had already been done. The Voyageurs move on to face a hot Ryerson Rams team with the winner guaranteed a bye week for the first round of the OUA playoffs.   

Written by Berkely Moses. Check out Berkeley on Twitter.

Canada qualifies for Tokyo 2020 Olympics with victory over Sweden

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OSTEND, BELGIUM (February 8, 2020) – The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team are headed to Tokyo. With an 80-50 victory over Sweden on Saturday, the squad punched their ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Basketball Competition. 

Natalie Achonwa finished with a game-high 16 points to lead all scorers in a balanced scoring effort from Canada. Achonwa shot 8-for-9 from the floor and added eight rebounds. Shaina Pellington added 11 points while Miranda Ayim and Kia Nurse each scored 10 points. Canada received 43 points from its bench, with Pellington leading the way. Frida Eldebrink led Sweden in the loss with 14 points while Kalis Loyd added 12. 

“We’ve experienced the whole gamut of qualification,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “A last minute, grind it out [qualification] in 2012, the last possible berth we eked out. Then onto 2016, where we took care of business in Canada and got it done, now for the first time in our tenure, to do it on foreign soil. I just said to the team, to qualify with a 30-point victory is pretty special. I think it really speaks to how far this team has come. I couldn’t be happier for this team and these players.”

Though Canada won by 30 points, Sweden kept things close throughout the first half. Leading 37-31 at the break, Canada started the second half reenergized and began to pull away. Winning the third quarter 22-10, Canada took a 59-41 lead into the fourth where they continued to roll. After opening the final frame on a 17-3 run, Canada extended the lead to 32 points on a layup from Pellington with 3:52 remaining. Canada finished the game outscoring Sweden 43-19 in the second half.

“It was a slower first half,” Thomaidis said. “A slower start for us. I think it took us a little while to adjust to what Sweden was doing. They did a good job of slowing us down, [but] this team is smart. We made some adjustments. They did it and built a lead and carried on from there. I think we had 12 turnovers at half and finished with 15, so we did a much better job at taking care of the ball and utilizing the weapons that we had.”

Achonwa credited Ayim with the team’s focus to start the third quarter.

“I think the energy we came with in the second half really set us apart,” Achonwa said. “That was our focus. I remember Miranda [Ayim] coming to us in the huddle and saying we needed to win the first three minutes [of the second half] and we did that by getting stops and staying aggressive on offence.”

Canada finished the game shooting 50 percent from the floor while holding Sweden to 33 percent shooting. The Canadians also won the battle of the boards, 45-25, including 14-8 on the offensive glass, and they also held a 16-2 edge in second-chance points as well as a 34-22 edge in points in the paint.

This will be Canada’s third consecutive trip to the Olympic Games. Veterans Achonwa, Ayim and Gaucher will be three-time Olympians with the program.

“How many people can say that?,” Thomaidis said. “Having some expectations of being there tempers a little bit of the excitement right now. When we think back to 2012, we were losing our minds. There’s high expectations on this team and this group so it does temper it, but I can tell you we are a pretty excited group right now. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet.”

As Thomaidis spoke about Achonwa and her two teammates becoming three-time Olympians, Achonwa couldn’t help but break into a smile. 

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but listening to [Lisa] talk about it and it being mine, Kim and Miranda’s third Olympics, kind of makes me emotional,” she said. “Knowing the injuries, the fight, not only that me, but our entire team has been through to get to this point, I don’t think we take it lightly. It’s an honour to represent Canada every time we put a jersey on, but to be able to do it at an Olympic Games and to be able to qualify for another Olympic Games, we definitely do not take it lightly.”

Up next for Canada is a match up against Japan on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 12:05 P.M. ET. This will be their final game in the tournament.  

Team Canada (Photo via CBC Twitter)

CBC Sports will broadcast all three of Canada’s games and have pre-game, halftime and post-game shows hosted by Andi Petrillo, featuring analysis from two-time Canadian Olympic national team player Lizanne Murphy and former national team player/coach and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Bev Smith.

Fans can also catch the action streaming live in Canada on the CBC Gem app and DAZN.  ESPN+ will carry Canada’s games in the United States.

“We came in wanting to win every game in this tournament,” Achonwa said. “And we will keep that mentality going forward.”

Courtesy Canada Basketball

OVO and Canada Basketball unveil support of Team Canada at Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgium

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TORONTO, ON (February 5, 2020) – As Team Canada takes the court tomorrow at the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, they will debut a new jersey in partnership with October’s Very Own (OVO), a lifestyle brand founded by award-winning artist Drake, Oliver El-Khatib and Noah “40” Shebib. The tournament takes place from February 6 to 9 in Ostend, Belgium, where Team Canada will face Belgium, Japan, and Sweden.

“We are proud of Team Canada’s accomplishments that have led them to this moment, where they are vying for a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” said Glen Grunwald, President and CEO of Canada Basketball. “To have OVO, a globally recognized Canadian brand, a part of this journey emphasizes the importance of growing the game in the country, and internationally on the largest stage in competitive sports.”

Kia Nurse

The Team Canada jerseys worn during the qualifying games will feature heritage OVO branding and is the first collaboration piece in an exclusive partnership between OVO and Canada Basketball. 

Canada’s women’s team is currently ranked a program-high 4th worldwide in the FIBA World Ranking Presented by NIKE and have participated in the past two Olympic Games (London 2012, Rio 2016). Following a second-place finish at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2019 in September, Canada advanced to the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a 3-0 record and a first-place finish in their group at the FIBA Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualifying Americas Tournament in Edmonton. The top 16 teams in the world will compete in the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2020 to determine the remaining 10 spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Kayla Alexander

Canadian fans will be able to watch the games on CBC and stream each game live on DAZN and the CBC Gem app. 

Team Canada game schedule:

– February 6, 2020 at 2:35 p.m. ET vs. Belgium

– February 8, 2020 at 2:35 p.m. ET vs. Sweden

– February 9, 2020 at 12:05 p.m. ET vs. Japan

Courtesy Canada Basketball

Senior Women’s National Team Announced Ahead of FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament

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OSTEND, BELGIUM (February 4, 2020) – Canada Basketball is pleased to announce the Senior Women’s National Team roster for the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

See below for the Senior Women’s National Team FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament roster.

“All of our players have worked really hard to earn this opportunity,” said Lisa Thomaidis, Head Coach, Senior Women’s National Team.  “We’re excited to get started in a couple days and face a tough opponent in Belgium on their home soil so we’ll be ready for the crowd on hand.”  

The Versluys Dôme in Ostend, Belgium will host one of four FIBA Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments from February 6-9, 2020.  

Canada will face Belgium (February 6, 2:35 PM ET), Sweden (February 8, 2:35 PM ET) and Japan (February 9, 12:05 PM ET).  Click here for the full tournament schedule.

The two (2) highest placed teams and Japan, as Host of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament. 

The 16 top teams from the FIBA Women’s Pre-Qualifying Tournaments will compete in the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2020, taking place in February 2020, have been split into four groups.

The remaining 12 nations have been selected to compete in the following three host cities: Australia, Brazil, France and Puerto in Bourges, France; China, Great Britain, South Korea and Spain in Belgrade, Serbia (formerly Foshan, China); Mozambique, Nigeria, Serbia and USA in Belgrade, Serbia.

For more information about the Women’s National Team Competition System, click here.

Canada is currently ranked a program-high 4th worldwide in the FIBA World Ranking Presented by NIKE and have participated in the past two Olympic Games (London 2012, Rio 2016).

NamePositionHeightHometownClub / School
Natalie AchonwaForward6’3″Guelph, ONIndiana Fever (WNBA) / Bourges (France)
Kayla AlexanderForward6’4″Milton, ONChicago Sky (WNBA)
Laeticia AmihereForward6’4″Mississauga, ONSouth Carolina (NCAA)
Miranda AyimForward6’3″London, ONBasket Landes (France)
Bridget CarletonGuard6’1″Chatham, ONMinnesota Lynx (WNBA) /Townsville Fire (Australia)
Kim GaucherGuard6’1″Mission, BCMondeville (France)
Sami HillGuard5’10”Toronto, ONDonau-Ries (Germany)
Miah-Marie LangloisGuard5’8″Windsor, ONDynamo Novosibirsk (Russia)
Kia NurseGuard6’0″Hamilton, ONNew York Liberty (WNBA) / Canberra Capitals (Australia)
Shaina PellingtonGuard5’8″Pickering, ONArizona (NCAA)
Nayo Raincock-EkunweForward6’2″Toronto, ONNew York Liberty (WNBA) / Nadezhda Orenburg (Russia)
Jamie ScottGuard5’10”Clarkston, WADynamo Novosibirsk (Russia)
NamePositionHometownAffiliation
Lisa ThomaidisHead CoachDundas, ONUniversity of Saskatchewan
Steve BaurAssistant CoachWolfville, NSCanada Basketball
Carly ClarkeAssistant CoachHalifax, NSRyerson University
Max HirstCoordinator, Performance AnalysisCollingwood, ONCanada Basketball
Lauren BuschmannSports Scientist & IST ManagerSt. Catharines, ONCanada Basketball/CSI-Ontario
Rhonda ShishkinPhysiotherapistSaskatoon, SKUniversity of Saskatchewan
Danielle DobneyAthletic TherapistToronto, ONYork University
Patrice PepinPhysiotherapistQuebec City, QCN/A
Bryce Tully Mental Performance CoachHalifax, NSCSC-Atlantic
Marni Wesner Lead Physician Edmonton, ABUniversity of Alberta
Anne Marie ThussTeam ManagerHamilton, ONMcMaster University
Glen GrunwaldPresident & CEOFranklin Park, ILCanada Basketball
Denise DignardDirector, WHPPort Cartier, QCCanada Basketball
Mike MacKayPerformance Manager, WHPTruro, NSCanada Basketball
Matt WalkerCommunications ManagerAncaster, ONCanada Basketball

FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament 

Ostend, Belgium

Thursday February 6th Canada vs. Belgium 2:35 PM

Saturday February 8th Canada vs. Sweden 2:35 PM

Sunday February 9th Canada vs. Japan 12:05 PM

Courtesy Canada Basketball

On Point teams up with Darkhorse Tapes to produce Hoops Mixtapes

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On Point teams up with Darkhorse Tapes in Mixtape Collaboration

(Toronto, On) On Point Basketball is pleased to announce that it has joined forces with emerging basketball mixtape company Darkhorse Tapes to provide highlight mixtapes to aspiring basketball players of all levels from youth to the pros.

Darkhorse Tapes (@darkhorsetapes), founded by Harish Kugathasan, is a fast-rising providers of basketball mixtapes, highlights and content in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). “I’m happy to be collaborating with onpointbasketball. Very excited for what the future may hold!”, said Kugathasan.

The collaboration will see Darkhorse Tapes mixtapes posted on On Point Basketball’s social media channels including Instagram, Twitter and even YouTube which will provide unparalleled exposure to ballers looking to increase their awareness and skills to coaches, scouts, fans and the greater basketball community.

Drew Ebanks, founder of On Point Basketball, is looking forward to joining forces with Harish and Darkhorse Tapes, to assist even more ballers in showing off their talent and skills. “This is an exciting time for basketball in Toronto & Canada and On Point Basketball, combined with Darkhorse Tapes, will strive to provided increased exposure and opportunities to Canadian basketball players on our expanding social media presence on all of our channels”, said Ebanks.

The sport continues to grow with more youth joining teams, clubs and leagues and many of them are looking for ways to show their game off to the world! On Point Basketball and Darkhorse tapes will give them the opportunity to do just that.

Players &/or teams looking to have Darkhorse Tapes cover their games to be shared on On Point Basketball’s social media channels email [email protected] for more information and rates.

On Point Basketball is a basketball media and lifestyle website that features prominent basketball personalities from across Canada and around the world. Our mission is to uplift the basketball community both in Canada and abroad through our production of high quality video and written basketball content.

Ryerson Rams take out Fifth-Ranked Ottawa Gee Gees

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(Toronto, ON) As the OUA season gets closer to the playoffs, the Ryerson Rams were set to host their annual back to back against the Ottawa Gee Gee’s and the Carlton Ravens. The Gee-Gee’s would be the first test of the weekend for the Rams lead by fifth year veteran & Toronto native Calvin Epistola.

The Rams were red hot and on a 5-game winning streak and relied on their recently reunited big three of Jayden Frederick, Tanor Ngom and Tevaun Kokko. The overwhelming presence of fans, media and University alumni alike who were in the Mattamy Athletic Centre is a testament to the growth of the Canadian basketball scene.

University of Connecticut commit and Canada’s Senior Women’s National team member Aaliyah Edwards was also in attendance, showing her support for the game. A Crestwood Prep senior, Edwards was previously coached by Ryerson women’s coach Carly Clarke on the Canada’s National Women’s team. Edwards will undoubtedly lead a new generation of talented female Canadian basketball players.  

UConn Huskies Commit Aaliyah Edwards (Crestwood Prep) Photo: Reuben Polansky

Former OUA greats JV Mukama (Ryerson), Myles Charvis (Ryerson) and Warren Ward (Ottawa) were also in the Mattamy showing support for their respective alma maters.

The game itself opened up at a fast pace with Gee-Gee’s Gage Sabean showing off some early three point shooting. The Rams were paced by Kokko’s 14 first quarter points, which included an ankle breaking crossover and nice take to the rim. Frederick added five late first quarter points and the Rams would finish out the quarter trailing 23-26,“We knew this was going to be a battle for us, we just had to stay consistent and locked in defensively,” stated Ryerson’s Kokko after the game.

Ngom held most of the spotlight throughout the second quarter. The Ryerson big man has really grown in his versatility, as he was able to grab nine rebounds in the frame, he also hit a 3 pointer, made all of his free throws and added a steal for good measure.

The Rams would re-claim the lead by half time going into the locker room up 39-32. Ngom, the Rams 7’1 center has really evolved his skill set and tailored it to NBA or G League potential. “ We all now how hard he works “ says Ryerson alumni Mukama. Mukama who is back from playing professional basketball in Rwanda, commented that “ Ngom is a big part of the culture that we are trying to build here at Ryerson.”

Tanor Ngom hits a three Photo: Reuben Polansky

Ngom, who has been in Toronto and away from his family in Senegal was surprised by his mom at his birthday celebration last weekend – he had not seen her in nearly 4 years. It was heart warming to see her at the game, and the all-star calibre performance Ngom delivered for her.

Ngom would continue to impress in the second half beginning with a stadium-shattering dunk and he completely imposed his will on the defensive glass for the Rams. Ryerson guard Kokko is one of the top emerging players in the OUA this season and he has a propensity to score in the paint and has handles that resemble Kyrie Irving’s.

Frederick got things going in the second half and the Rams were able to out pace the Gee-Gees and finish the third quarter with a 19-point lead. Although Gee Gee’s guard Epistola and forward Guillaume Pepin had relatively quiet nights on the scoring side, they fought admirably to prevent the game from getting out of hand. A few three pointers and impressive lay-ups in the fourth quarter were not going to be enough for the Gee-Gees as the damage had been done as Ryerson went on to win the game 91-67.

It is this combination of Fredrick, Ngom and Kokko that makes Ryerson particularly dangerous, “We’ve had a great start to the second semester,” said Kokko. “This is the first time all year we’ve really had everyone healthy and going.”

The real test for Ryerson will be Saturday night against a 16-0 top-ranked nationally Carleton Ravens team. “We’re definitely prepared,” Kokko continued. “I’m not going to give you any hints but we work and have a lot of confidence in our team. This is a definitely a statement win for us, to come out here and beat a solid time like this means a lot.”

This win will most likely result in Ryerson getting a well-deserved Top-10 National ranking in next week’s polls. They will try to keep the momentum and team building going as they face Carleton as mentioned above, followed by the McMaster Marauders (9-6) and the Brock Badfers (9-6).

Co-Players of the Game

Tevaun Kokko (Ryerson)  – 33 Pts, 5 Ast, 4 Rb, 2 stl, 1 blk

Tanor Ngom  (Ryerson) – 24 Pts, 19 Rb, 1 Blk, 1 Stl

Honorable Mention

Jayden Frederick (Ryerson) – 23 Pts, 8 Rb, 4 ast, 4 stl

Written By Berkeley Moses – Check Berkeley out on Instagram @Solidasabball

Photos by Reuben Polansky-Shapiro. Check out Reuben on Twitter

Poor defensive execution costs the 905 at home in loss to the Lakeland Magic

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(Mississauga, ON) – “We’re in basketball games but now we gotta close them out,” Head Coach Jama Mahlalela on the 905’s season so far. Oshae Brissett had himself a great night but it didn’t transfer to his team as the Raptors 905 lost 112-105 to the Lakeland Magic. 34 assists on 43 made field goals for the Magic as the 905 defense couldn’t do much to stop them.

Brissett opened the scoring for the 905 with a shot from deep. Unfortunately early on the Magic had control. Devin Robinson had two turnovers and Lakeland took advantage up 10-5, just four minutes into the first.

A 17-4 run ensued. Highlighted by threes from Tyler Ennis, Paul Watson Jr. and Matt Morgan. That put the 905 out to a 22-14 lead. Their defence was tightening up, playing aggressive on ball screens. The Magic were forced into a timeout to figure their offence out.

It seemed to work as they got into a better flow. The bigger problem for the 905 was when Ennis checked out so did their ball movement. They really laboured to get open shots. With time winding down Brissett capped off an excellent first quarter with a triple. After 12 it was 30-24. Brissett led all scorers with 11. “Whenever the ball finds me I’m gonna try to make the best play,” was what Brissett said of his mindset.

His dominance continued in the second. Another make from deep, his fourth of the game. A trip to the free throw line had Brissett up to 16. The Magic were really struggling defending the pick and roll. Through five minutes it was 45-35 and the 905 were getting any shot they wanted.

But it was Lakeland who went on the next big run. 15-6 over the next few minutes had them right back in the contest. Josh Magette was carving up the 905 defence that was playing so well earlier. Magette was into double digit points with 11 and dished out six assists. With just over three remaining until halftime 905 led 51-50.

Brissett with another chance to close the quarter with a bang. A lengthy review followed what looked like a clear foul. He missed the free throw and at the half it was a narrow 905 lead, 59-57 over the Magic. Ennis was up to 13 points to go with his four assists. Vic Law was leading Lakewood with 12 points but on an inefficient 4 for 13 from the field.

Oshae Brissett-Raptors 905

Brissett was taking over while the Raptors leading scorer, Justin Anderson was out (personal). He led the first 24 with 18 points along with a team best six rebounds.

Law started the third with a vengeance. A long talk with the referees about the foul called to end the second. Law was now letting his play do the talking, an easy jump shot then a deep three to give the Magic a slight lead, 64-61.

A 7-0 run by the 905 quickly erased that. It was capped off by Devin Robinson following up a missed layup by Ennis and throwing it down hard. Later, Robinson obviously wanted to be on the highlight reel. He threw it off the backboard and slammed it home with authority.

The 905’s offence changed into more cuts with great passes than relying on the pick and roll like it did in the first half. The problem was the defence as the Magic were holding a tight 80-78 lead with two minutes remaining in the third.

A poor close to the quarter extended Lakeland’s lead to 84-80. The Magic had a very balanced attack with five guys in double figures. A lot of that came from their willingness to pass the ball. and it paid off since on 33 made shots they had 29 assists. Hassani Gravett was doing really well running the point of attack with seven assists and shooting 5-of-10 for 12 points. “It’s tough, the guards they’ve got move the ball and are real crafty and you don’t want to help too much because they got good shooters in the corners,” Brissett on the 905’s struggle defending the pick and roll.

The start of the fourth was a different story. It took until 9:04 for the Magic to get their first point. The 905 had multiple turnovers but still were able to grab a 87-86 lead thanks to their defence.

It was very back and forth in the middle of the quarter. Neither team could pull away as with four minutes remaining the Magic held a slight one point lead, 98-97. Lakeland who are fourth in the league in blocks were looking like it with nine, six of which were from Michale Kyser.

Tyler Ennis-Raptors 905

Ennis missed back-to-back floaters in the lane. The following offensive possession was a shot clock violation. It capped off what was a very rough shooting night for Ennis (Nine assists) who finished 5 for 17.

The Magic went on to win 112-105. Magette was outstanding with a double-double, 23 points and 13 assists. “I thought we lost as a team, weird thing to figure out but I thought they were at least together on what we were trying to do and we didn’t accomplish it and that means we gotta improve,” Jama Mahlalela’s message after the loss.

Canadian Callout

905

Tyler Ennis, 15 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds. Struggled late but a great job making plays from the pick and roll.


Oshae Brisset, 24 points, 3 assists and 8 rebounds. Was dominant in the first half but had a lack of touches in the second. When asking Brissett on being a two-way player, “I learn a lot from those guys on and off the court and the way that they carry themselves.”

Duane Notice, was a DNP.

Magic

Justin Jackson, The only Canadian on the Magic roster was out of the lineup. “I’m pretty much fully recovered but it’s all about baby steps. The Magic staff put together a plan and we’re focused on the best time for me to come back,” Jackson said of missing the game.

Next up, Wednesday versus the Greensboro Swarm at 7:30pm EST. at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

Written by Harley Kock. Check out Harley on Twitter.

Photos by Cam Bartlett. Cam is also on Twitter.

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