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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

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.

Raptors 905 fall on New Year’s Day to the Agua Caliente Clippers

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(Mississauga ,On) Coming off a win to end 2019 against the Greensboro Storm, the Raptors 905 opened the new year with a home game against the Agua Caliente Clippers at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

The Clippers (Agua Caliente) have two prominent Canadian players on the roster in Mfiondu Kabengele  (Burlington, On.) and Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Scarborough, On.) who scored 18 and 25 points respectively in the team’s previous win against the Memphis. 

The game opened up with a fast pace with Raptors 905 forward Justin Anderson scoring 5 of the Raptors first 7 points. He would go on to finish the frame with 12 points and 6 rebounds.

The Clippers stretched the Raptors out with six first quarter three pointers and showed versatility with a strong inside game from big man Kabengele and would close out the quarter with a one point lead. The Raptors opened the second quarter with a scoring drought, not scoring a single field goal for the first 3 minutes of the quarter and only had four total second quarter points with 5:40 to go in the half. The defence did improve in the second quarter however and the 905 held Agua Caliente to one of eleven from the 3 point line and 39% overall in the quarter. The Raptors were unable to capitalize on their defence unfortunately only shooting 33% in the second.

Tyler Ennis & Xavier Rathan-Mayes

Justin Anderson kept the home crowd in the game with a highlight worthy dunk and Paul Watson contributed with 7 second quarter points to keep the Raptors 905 in the game through halftime trailing 49-47 at the break.

Mississauga native Oshae Brissett was in the lineup for the 905 for this game, however he appeared somewhat fatigued as he went o-for-8 from the field (Four points) on the night.

Brissett (two-way player), has been on a whirlwind lately, suiting up for both the Raptors 905 and the Raptors over the last week plus, “Yeah it’s crazy. You never know when you get called up or have to go back down. Like I said, it’s wild. Right now I gotta hop on a flight and meet them in Miami.”

But Brissett isn’t complaining, “This is what I wanted, coming in I wanted to play so just glad I had the opportunity.”

Oshae Brissett

The Raptors lead the rebounding battle throughout the first half and ended up with more boards overall in the game (49-42), but were plagued by turnovers (18) and missed shots (42.9%fg). The Canadian Kabengele, who controlled things inside the paint, scoring 11 points in the quarter, effortlessly dominated the third quarter. The Clippers would go onto shoot 55% overall in the quarter stretching their lead to double digits by the end of the third (78-68).

Kabengele, the nephew of former NBA big man Dikembe Mutombo, was excited to be back home and it showed, “Yeah I mean I felt a little anxious because I’m back home. But once I kinda settled in and the game kind of came towards me. I focused on rebounding and after that everything just connected.”

The fourth quarter was another tough one for the Raptors as the Clippers extended their lead to 20 points and easily swung the momentum of the game in their favour. This game was ultimately lost on turnovers and missed opportunities as mentioned above. There were some sparks from Brampton native Tyler Ennis (14 points eight assists) but it would prove not enough as the Clippers cruised to a 110-93 victory.

Rathan-Mayes, said his team had one thing in mind, “Stops. We were able to get a lot of stops. Get out in transition. That was a big thing for us and if we can get stops we’ll be alright.

Mfiondu Kabengele

Player of the game Kabengele finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds, he currently averages 16 points and 10 rebounds per game.  Honourable mentions go out to Clippers’ Terance Mann (25 points, 5 assists) and the 905’s Justin Anderson ( Team-high 25 points 14 rebounds).

The Raptors 905 (currently 7-11 on the season) look to work their way back to the 500 mark as they go on the road to face the Grand Rapids Drive this Saturday. (7pm est.)

Canadian performances:

Raptors 905

Tyler Ennis 14points 8 assists 3 rebounds

Oshae Brissett 2points 4 rebounds 2 assists

Agua Caliente Clippers

Xavier Rathan Mayes 9 points 5 assists 4 rebounds

Mfiondu Kabengele 26pts 10 rebounds 3assists 2 blocks

Justin Anderson Game Highlights 

Justin Anderson Team-High 25pts 14rebs for Raptors 905

Mfiondu Kabengele Game Highlights

Written by Berkeley Moses. Check out Berkeley on Instagram

Hardwood Classix MVP Muon Reath’s alley-oop seals it for Canada Topflight Academy

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Reath’s Thunderous Jam Caps off Stunning Championship Comeback for CTA Academy

Canada Topflight Academy was rolling heading into the championship game against Father Henry Carr. Their three point shooting was clicking, led by sharpshooter Ankit Chaudhary. The defence, led by forwards like Enoch Kalambay, Tesloch Luk and Muon Reath, was zipping all over the court in terms of forcing turnovers and missed shots. And the offence was clicking, with balanced scoring.

But with 1:18 to go in the first half, Kalambay crumpled to the floor with a serious knee injury after a Henry Carr player landed on his leg. The crowd at Central Tech High School was hushed as there was a 30 minute delay before the CTA forward was wheeled off the court by paramedics.

“When Enoch went down, I was just shocked because he’s a fighter,” CTA forward Muon Reath said. “So I knew it was something serious.”

A visibly shaken CTA team was forced to complete the championship game without one of its best players and they were down by 14 early on in the third quarter against a hungry FHC team. 

According to CTA head coach Tony House, one of two scenarios were going to play out. 

“Either we can moan and cry for Enoch or we can play for him,” House said. “Either we’re going to get beat by 30 or we’re gonna actually compete and challenge every minute and have a chance to win.”

House sure was glad it was the latter scenario.

A thunderous alley oop slam by Muon Reath off of a pinpoint inbounds pass from Galdo Tutu with 3.3 seconds remaining capped off a remarkable 109-107 comeback win for Canada Top Flight Academy, who took home the first ever Hardwood Classix Invitational Presented by Tangerine title.

House was looking for a baseline triple on that offensive possession initially before having his team set a back screen for Reath to give him a mismatch. However, FHC did not switch defenders, leaving Reath wide open.

“The fact that he dunked it, I thought, was amazing,” House said, awestruck. “You can diagram it but to actually run it to perfection and to win the first Hardwood Classix Invitational like that… pretty crazy.”

“My mind was blank; I was just trying to execute the play right,” Reath said. “When Jo (Mulongo) was on my left, I was trying to sell it like I was going to give him a screen so I kept telling him to wait. Then I jumped towards him to make the defender think I was screening him. I saw Ankit coming to get my man so I started moving then looked at Galdo for the pass. 

“When I saw the passing lane open, I knew either I’m dunking it or laying it in.”

Mulongo led CTA with 32 points, 25 coming in the second half. Chaudhry capped off an incredible shooting display over the weekend with 25 points on five made triples.

“These guys (CTA) came down to play,” Henry Carr guard Brendan Ocampo said. “They play hard and didn’t come here to lose so I give them respect for that.” 

But it was Reath who took home the Hardwood Classix MVP, finishing with 14 points. He says that getting MVP honours was a shock to him, referring to performances from Chaudhry, Luk, and Mulongo.

“It’s crazy that I was named MVP. There were a handful of players on my team that deserved the title more than me,” Reath said. “We just have a team full of talented guys that do so much when they get on the floor.”

“Muon’s (Reath) the glue; he’s the Swiss Army knife,” House said. “He does it on both ends (and) when you say most valuable, he’s that guy.”

However, it almost never happened when Reath was forced to go to the bench with his fourth foul in the third quarter after receiving a technical foul for taunting after a made triple.

“When I was on the bench, the only thought was how (to) redeem myself because getting that tech was a selfish act on my end,” Reath said. “I could’ve been on the court still fighting but now I was on the bench with my fourth foul and gave the other team two easy free throws.”

Jalen Shirley had a chance to win the game for FHC but his wing triple went off the back rim as time expired. It was a disappointing end to the tournament for Father Henry Carr, who played without leading scorer Josh Morgan due to injury. 

“We just grinded. When one person’s down, we don’t let it affect the whole team; we just come out hard with energy and full court pressing,” Henry Carr forward Caleb Johnson said.

“We’re waiting for our full roster to come,” Ocampo said. “We haven’t been playing all together (so) we’ll be alright.”

FHC was led by Johnson’s game high 39 points, who showcased his offensive talents throughout this tournament whether it was with thunderous jams, acrobatic finishes, or timely jump shooting.

“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive and help my team get the win,” Johnson said of his performance.

Meanwhile, for Ocampo, he finished with 21 points as he surprised many of the coaches and fans here in attendance during this tournament with his finishing around the rim, whether it was acrobatic or through tons of contact.

“My coach loves to put us in the weight room every day. He tells me that when you get onto that court, stop playing so soft,” Ocampo said. “He tells me to work and play physical.”

Chaudhry and Luk each had eight points in the opening frame for CTA but Johnson’s 14 in the quarter had FHC up 29-28 after one. 

In the second, it was Johnson and Noah Ngamga leading the way for FHC with nine points each in the quarter. CTA, meanwhile, struggled to generate offense in that frame with just 17 points as they trailed 58-45 at the half.

But Canada Top Flight Academy came out of intermission playing inspired, led by guards Mulongo (15) and Chaudhry (11). They outscored FHC, 39-28, in the third quarter and went into the final frame down by just two (86-84).

Offense from both sides slowed down in the fourth quarter as both teams were determined to get stops to pull away for the win. Mulongo had 10 in the quarter for CTA while Johnson had eight and Ocampo as well as Jahmyah Brown-Jeffers each had six for FHC.

Henry Carr was up two with 28 seconds to go before CTA tied it on a layup by WIlson Dubinsky off of a dump off pass. FHC then committed a shot clock violation on their next possession and House then called for time with 3.8 seconds left, leading to Reath’s heroics.

“Going into December, we still have the Sun Youth tournament in Montreal. But this is a game-changer,” House said. “I hope we get Enoch back and that it’s nothing too serious. If we don’t, we’ve got different guys stepping up. These guys are getting experience and god forbid, if injuries or foul trouble arise, they’re ready to play and step up. I’m so proud of them.”

ALL FOR ENOCH

Obviously, the storyline after the first half ended for CTA was to win this game for Kalambay, who went down earlier with a serious knee injury. 

It hit especially hard for Reath, who had known Kalambay since Grade 7 and has been playing with him for around three years. Muon described what Kalambay has meant to him, calling Enoch his “big bro.”

“He’ll get guys hyped up and get them serious when it’s time too,” Reath said. “I’ve learned a lot from him on and off the court. He’s great, knows how to make people laugh, (and) just a humble guy that takes care of business.”

CTA, after the game, huddled up together around an emotional Reath, who had his thoughts for Kalambay, signalling how united this group was.

“That moment when we came together and decided to fight for Enoch, I knew this was a team I’d love to be a part of. They’re a team full of killers and they’d kill for each other no matter what it takes,” Reath said. “This tourney, we learned to push the gas on the opposing team and fight all the way through. Now we just gotta take this lesson and bring it on to the NPA season and have fun with it.”

Each Team’s Journey (Men’s Bracket)

Canada Top Flight Academy

CTA, in their earlier two games, faced off against two tough and gritty teams in TBA Prep Friday night and TRC Academy Saturday morning. Luk scored 26 to lead all scorers for CTA in a 104-84 win over TBA Prep; six players scored in double figures during that game.

“When you’re playing prep basketball, you want to compete against the very best. And in this tournament, other than Orangeville Prep, all the best teams were here,” House said. “Our road was tough. Every game you play (here) there’s a bullseye on your back and we get everybody’s best shot.”

They were then up by as much as 29 in the second half before TRC Academy made a furious rally to cut the lead down to single digits.   

“My guys gotta understand (even though) you’re up 30, that’s (TRC) a very good basketball team,” House said. “They’ve got a lot of pride and they’re gonna come back. But we held them off.”

CTA hung on to win that game by a score of 107-100, led by Chaudhry’s game high 30 points on nine made triples. The sharpshooter hit a total of 19 three pointers during the tournament.

Father Henry Carr

For Father Henry Carr, making it to the championship game almost didn’t happen. In fact, their tournament looked like it was going to end at the hands of Bill Crothers in the quarterfinal as FHC was down by as many as 22 in the second quarter.

“We need to come in more aggressive and be ready to fight,” Caleb Johnson says of the slow starts that his team endures.

However, it was a 41 point turnaround as Brown-Jeffers and Johnson each had 27 to lead Henry Carr to a 105-86 win over Crothers. Johnson had 19 and Brown-Jeffers had 18 in the second half alone.

The next day, in the semifinals against Crestwood Prep, both teams started off on fire offensively as Crestwood was up 30-29 after one quarter. But Henry Carr tightened up defensively after that and eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter, winning by a score of 105-91.

Ocampo led five FHC players in double figures with 23 as his finishing around the rim was something to behold. Brown-Jeffers and Johnson each had 21 as Henry Carr’s work in the paint offensively proved to be the difference.

Crestwood Prep

It was a tale of two games offensively for Crestwood Prep. The quarterfinals saw them go up against Southwest Academy and they absolutely shot the lights out from downtown, hitting 20 triples in a 140-98 blowout victory. A total of six Crestwood players scored in double figures, led by Elijah Fisher’s game high 33 points. Dezayne Mingo was a flamethrower off of the bench, nailing six triples and finishing with 24.

But the script was flipped the next day in the semifinals against Father Henry Carr in which Crestwood missed numerous looks from three, hitting just three triples that game. Crestwood’s tournament ended with a 105-91 loss to Henry Carr.

Kobe Antwi finished with a game-high 36 points and Fisher chipped in with 20 but they were the only two players to score in double figures for Crestwood.

TRC Academy

TRC Academy, in this tournament, had their hopes dashed at the hands of Canada Top Flight Academy in the semifinals but not before they made noise throughout their two games.

In the quarterfinal against Thornlea, TRC was in full control from the second quarter onward as they outscored Thornlea, 35-17, and eventually won the game 106-83.

Dawson John led four TRC players in double figures with 26 points as he hit a total of five triples in that game. Bryant Selebangue did the dirty work on the inside as he dropped 22.

Against CTA, it was a struggle defensively for TRC as they allowed 29, 29, and 31 points in three quarters. Meanwhile, TRC struggled to score in the first half, scoring just 28 as they were down by 30 at the half. They did get it going in the third quarter, scoring 38 but were still down 23 heading into the fourth quarter (89-66).

But something clicked in that fourth quarter for TRC Academy on both ends of the floor as they outscored CTA, 35-18, in the frame. However, it became too little too late for TRC Academy as they fell 107-100.

Majambu Mbikay scored all 27 of his points in the second half to lead TRC while Selebangue had 24.

Bill Crothers

It looked like it would be Bill Crothers, who would face off against Crestwood in the semifinals as they dominated the better part of the first half against Father Henry Carr, going up by as many as 22 in the second quarter. Crothers, led by Kobe Elvis, were getting to the rim at will and finishing. 

But FHC cut the lead down to a manageable 10 at the half and the numerous turnovers leading to scores as well as cold second half shooting led to a 105-86 defeat for Bill Crothers as their tournament came to a disappointing end. 

Five players scored in double figures for the team. Tyson Dunn scored 21 of his team-high 25 points in the second half while Elvis finished with 22 and Marcus Barnes had 17.

Southwest Academy

A subpar first (39-16) and third quarters on both ends of the floor in their 140-98 quarterfinal loss against Crestwood Prep proved to be all she wrote for Southwest Academy, who played without big man Brock Newton.

A bright spot for Southwest was the play of Kuol Kuol, who dropped 21 of his team high 29 points in the second half and made all eight of his free throws. 

Jaleel Hilts had 14 of his 17 points in the first half while Tariq Armstrong and Ethan Butler each had 14 and Ziphion Grant dropped 12 to round out Southwest Academy’s double figure scorers.

Thornlea Prep

Thornlea faced off against TRC Academy, without UConn commit Javonte Brown, in what was the first quarterfinal of the day for the men’s bracket. 

Although they hung in there during the duration of the first quarter, a 35-17 edge in the second quarter for TRC spelled doom for Thornlea’s chances to win this game as they fell, 106-83.

Ben Li returned to Thornlea with a bang, finishing with a game-high 28 points in the loss while hitting five triples and scoring 11 in the final frame. Dominic Mudihy had 18 while Adrien Husic and Khalid Long each had 10.

TBA Prep

TBA Prep, led by first year coach Yusuf Ali, had the final quarterfinal match of the night but were in tough as they were playing a well-rounded CTA team.

CTA nearly ran away with it early on but a timely timeout got TBA Prep settled down and they started chipping away, cutting the CTA lead down to three at the half (45-42).

However, TBA had a poor second half on the defensive end, allowing 58 points on 10 made triples. They were able to pull away in the fourth after extending their lead to a dozen during the third frame. 

TBA weren’t able to keep up with CTA offensively and their tournament ended after one game, losing 104-84. CTA hit 15 three pointers during the game; TBA hit just six.

Five players scored in double figures for TBA Prep, led by 25 points from southpaw Jasha’juan Downey while Jesse Okeke had 16.

Written by Kajan Thiruthanikasalam Check out Kajan on Twitter

Photo by Mustapha Youssouf. Check out Capturedbyma on Twitter

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