Written by Jas Grewal
CYBL Session 3 Day 1 Recap
Saturday, February 21st marked the third session of the Canadian Youth Basketball Tournament (CYBL). There was a full slate of games on the schedule at Waterdown District High School in Hamilton and despite the blistering cold outside, which seemingly found its way through the interior of the institution, the gyms were packed and ready for a full day of competitive and entertaining basketball. As with all CYBL tournament sessions, this one did not disappoint: a seemingly prevailing theme.
Senior Girls – 2015 (As of Feb 21st after Session 3)
Team W L T Pct GB GP Canada Elite 11 0 0 1.000 – 11 No Limit Performance 10 2 0 .833 1.5 12 Triple Threat (Dale) 6 6 0 .500 5.5 12 Live For Ball 6 6 0 .500 5.5 12 Triple Threat (Bobby) 5 7 0 .417 6.5 12 Flamborough Fire 5 7 0 .417 6.5 12 Mississauga Basketball Academy 4 8 0 .333 7.5 12 YAAACE 0 11 0 .000 11.0 11
W Toronto Triple Threat (Bobby) vs YAAACE (Final Score: 67-38)
Leading Scorers: [Toronto Triple Threat] Akiyah Stewart (15 pts)
[YAAACE] (#7) (13pts)
Despite having three talented players governing guard duties, YAAACE continued with their struggling ways as they fell to a surging Toronto Triple Threat (Bobby) team by 25 points. Much of the struggle stemmed from YAAACE’s lack of size in the interior coupled with an inefficient offense that relies too heavily on isolation basketball. They were also under-manned with only 6 players suited up, which didn’t help their cause either. Hopefully they can bolster their lineup in the coming weeks. Conversely, Toronto Triple Threat showed how they have turned the tide since their initial session almost a month ago. After leading 30-11 after the first 18 minutes of action, Akiyah Stewart and company did their best on the scoring end to uphold the large lead while maintaining consistent intensity on the defensive end. Stewart – a combo guard who, although plays point guard, is an extremely able scorer – and epitomizes how a leader should run their team. When Triple Threat needed to score, she would always provide an answer- whether by hitting a tough shot on the perimeter or by making the right pass for an eventual basket by her teammates. She may be small in stature but she is extremely feisty and persistent on both sides of the floor – an invaluable trait that can’t be taught. In the end it was talent and hustle that allowed Toronto Triple Threat to take the 67-38 win over YAAACE.
W Flamborough Fire vs Mississauga Basketball Academy (Final Score: 53-37)
Leading Scorers: [Flamborough Fire] Alexa S. (14 pts)
[Mississauga Basketball Academy] Lauren Farrugia (10 pts)
After a slug fest in the first half of action, the Flamborough Fire seemed determined to kick it up a notch in the final 18 minutes of regulation. Much of the first half centered on Flamborough finding their spots on the floor and effectively figuring out the most efficient way of scoring against Mississauga. Despite only scoring a combined nine points in the first half, both Alexa and Reece seemed to kick it in gear in the latter part of the game. Both girls combined for 17 points in the second half with much of their baskets coming on the inside, save for a couple of three point makes by Alexa. By the end of it, Reece’s sheer size and length allowed Flamborough to take advantage of second chance opportunities; she was also extremely active on the opposite end of the court where she effectively forced difficult and contested shots, relegating the opposition to play a perimeter style game, as opposed to pounding the paint, which is generally conducive to winning basketball. This game was no different.
W No limit Performance vs Mississauga Basketball Academy (Final Score: 70-34)
Leading Scorers: [No limit Performance] Megan Macleod (18pts)
[Mississauga Basketball Academy] Julia Knez (10 pts)
Flamborough Fire vs W Canada Elite (Final Score: 72-46)
Leading Scorers: [Flamborough Fire] Beth Howlett (10 pts)
[Canada Elite] Emini Clough (22 pts)
It was an upward battle from the opening tip for the Flamborough Fire – despite having a relatively talented and interconnected unit. Canada Elite maintained their excellent play (and undefeated streak) as they extinguished the Fire in blowout fashion. Emini Clough, Tiffany Reynolds and Avolyn Sharp were nearly unstoppable in the opening frame (and subsequently all game) as they looked to push the ball on every possible possession. Sharp – although fairly undersized – possessed an unyielding disposition and a ‘get out of my way’ mentality Saturday afternoon as she looked to attack the paint ferociously. Not only was she effective with dribble penetration and creating opportunities for others, but she also displayed a decent stroke from the perimeter, too. Reynolds – possibly Canada Elite’s best and most active defender – showed her prowess on both ends of the floor, especially on the offensive end where she successfully converted on countless drives and slashes to the basket. Much of her scoring explosion came off of forced turnovers and an unwavering desire to get high-percentage shots. Emini Clough – perhaps the most consistent (offensively) and most talented player on Canada Elite (and some could argue in the tournament) – did her daily duty as she poured in a game high 22 points, all of which came off of her own play making ability (e.g., crossover, offensive rebounds) or on the break off of forced turnovers and defensive rebounds. In the end, it was Canada Elite’s unwillingness to stray away from their merciless full court pressure (which caused a ton of turnovers) that allowed them to build a large lead and, eventually, take the 26 point win, 72-46.
W Live for Ball vs Toronto Triple Threat (Dale) (Final Score: 56-30)
Leading Scorers: [Live for Ball] Alyssa Navarro (12pts)
[Toronto Triple Threat] Quiosha Lindsay (7 pts)
Live for Ball exemplified how team basketball should be played in Saturday’s matinee, and because of their chemistry and willingness to make the extra pass, they were able to put hammers to nails against Toronto Triple Threat (Dale). Alyssa Navarro was a terror scoring the basketball. Not only did Triple Threat not have an answer for her nifty and versatile offensive game, but they failed to stop others from impacting the game, too. Justina King did her best Steve Nash impression as she steered the ship all night for LFB. Although she didn’t lead her team in the scoring column against Toronto Triple Threat, King made the right plays, hit timely shots, and played a team brand of basketball which – more times than none- is favourable to winning basketball. LFB were able to pick apart the Triple Threat defence which, evidently, lacked any hint of resistance or fight at all. All in all, LFB were considerably more talented and disciplined than Triple Threat, and it’s precisely why they found themselves up big early and, needless to say, throughout the entire game. As a result, LFB were able to pull out the 56-30 victory over Toronto Triple Threat (Dale).
W Canada Elite vs No limit Performance (Final Score: 56-54)
Leading Scorers: [No Limit Performance] Megan Macleod (19 pts)
[Canada Elite] Nikki Yilang (12 pts)
Perhaps the most intense and competitive matchup Saturday afternoon came between two of the top teams in the CYBL tournament. Both Canada Elite and No Limit Performance put on a show for spectators as they dazzled the crowd with ‘ooo’s’ and ‘ah’s’ on several instances. Typically, Canada Elite comes out strong in the early stages of any game no matter the competition. But it was No Limit Performance putting on a spectacle early as they prevented a ton of easy baskets for Canada Elite while maintaining obedience to their offensive game, which was entertaining in itself. No Limit runs a disciplined and structured offense centered on play calling and constant ball movement, whereas Canada Elite – because of the sheer talent and skill amongst everyone on the team – relies more on isolation plays and transition basketball to put points on the board – a sort of fragmented offense that works with the talent they possess. Hallie Nickerson, who possesses invaluable and unparalleled leadership skills, is typically the high scorer for her team, but it was Megan Macleod who absolutely dominated the paint in this contest. Not only was she a terror on the offensive glass, but it was also her smooth post moves and sheer length (on both ends of the floor) that forced Canada Elite to focus much of their attention on her. In addition to her dominant post game, Macleod fostered a level of passion and charisma that was undeniably contagious (eventually, her teammates equaled her intensity and will to fight, too).
Although the first half of basketball belonged to No Limit Performance, where they picked apart the primary defence of Canada Elite on several occasions, the second half was more of a barn burner that saw sharpshooter Nikki Yilang dominate on the perimeter. Yilang hit timely shots to help put Canada Elite ahead in the latter part of regulation, and it was because of her that her teammates amplified their intensity and focus on both sides of the floor. After a back and forth affair where both teams kept trading baskets, it was Avolyn Sharp who helped Canada Elite breathe a sigh of relief in the final moments. In the end, Sharp was able to draw a (questionable) foul in the dying seconds of regulation and hit a pair of free throws to seal the deal against No Limit Performance. As a result, Canada Elite held on for the 56-54 win. It was a competitive battle that, without hesitation, was the highlight game of the day, living up to the immense pre-game hype.
W Toronto Triple Threat (Bobby) vs Toronto Triple Threat (Dale) (Final Score: 56-43)
Leading Scorers: [TTT Bobby] Jalisa Simons (15 pts)
[TTT Dale] Tianna Warwick (9pts)
Saturday’s matinee between both Toronto Triple Threat teams (Bobby and Dale) proved to be a dandy as each club provided the crowd with a competitive and fierce battle. The contest proved to be a tale of two halves with Toronto Triple Threat (Dale) taking the first half reigns, while the second half belonged to the ladies in yellow(Bobby). Akiyah Stewart was, as always, in all-star form Saturday afternoon against her Toronto Triple Threat(Dale) counterparts as she provided a smooth floor game with a myriad of highlight passes. Instead of looking to score for much of the game, the small but strong-willed Stewart was making things happen for her teammates. Jalisa Simons was on a tear on the inside for TTT (Bobby); much of her damage came in the second half when her club needed her most. Whereas the first half of action was more of a back and forth affair with each team trading baskets, the second half was entirely different. Toronto Triple Threat (Bobby) looked to put the defensive clamps on in the final 18 minutes, while also looking to push the pace against a tired and somewhat sluggish Triple Threat (Dale) squad. As a result of changing their overall mentality in the second half, Toronto Triple Threat (Bobby) were able to take over and eventually steal the 13 point win, 56-43.
YAAACE vs W Live for Ball (Final Score: 59-34)
Leading Scorers: [YAAACE] Alex (#9) (21 pts)
[Live for Ball] Justina King (18 pts)
Justina King singlehandedly took control of this game from the get go. LFB, as a team, is the most unselfish and cerebral unit at the CYBL tournament. King’s selfless and altruistic nature ignited a contagious ‘passing and team ball’ ideology that each player seemingly bought into. She has the skill set to score on any given opportunity, but making the right pass or play seems more imperative and satisfactory to her than the glory that comes with being a go to scorer. Although she scored 18 points – none of which were forced shots – her ability to envision plays before they happen is unique and uncommon amongst many point guards her age. LFB’s willingness and determination to swing the ball around the horn and make the defense work is partly why they get so many high percentage shots, and it starts with King at the helm.
YAAACE’s struggles on both ends of the floor have been well documented by every team that’s played them so far. Not only does this young club struggle to forge a decent offensive scheme – which can be attributed to a lack of an inside presence – but their defensive strategies and overall effort seems too inconsistent to be effective. They have talent, without a doubt, but their inability to work as a cohesive unit and simply gel together prevents them from creating any fluidity on the offensive end. Again, their 6 player roster puts pressure as well to keep up for the full game.
After being down 26-12 after the first half of play, YAAACE failed to show any signs of life in the second half, too. In the end LFB was able to take the 25 point win over an undermanned and fraught YAAACE club.
Peel Monstars vs W Live for Ball (Final Score: 42-20)
Leading Scorers: [Live for Ball] Claire Girard (9pts)
[Peel Monstars] Ciera Thompson (9pts)
Angiels vs W Jayhawks (Final Score: 48-35)
Leading Scorers: [Jayhawks] Mikayla Samuel (11pts)
[Angiels] Chelsea Torregosa (13 pts)
Jayhawks vs Live for Ball (Final Score: 54-43)
Leading Scorers: [Jayhawks] Not Available
[Live for Ball] Not Available ____________________________________________________________________________
Educate, Train, Believe, Achieve vs Angiels Basketball (Final Score: 34-25)
Leading Scorers: [E.T.B.A] Not Available
[Angiels Basketball] Not Available
Written & Compiled by Jas Grewal
Photos Courtesy of Reel Motion Imaging(@RonnieMexx)
Edited by Drew Ebanks
Special Thanks to Chris Skinner of the CYBL