M.A.D.E. Toronto Pro Am League M.V.P. Morgan Lewis skying for a dunk.
Lewis and Anderson Lead the Charge for Team On Point as They Defeat Flash Forward in the M.A.D.E. Toronto Pro Am Championship Game
By Jaspreet Grewal
The M.A.D.E. Pro Am league has been a huge success since its commencement more than a month ago, and Wednesday’s championship game between ‘Flash Forward’ and ‘Team On Point’ proved to align accordingly with the tournament’s reputation.
Behind the poised leadership of former Team Canada Senior Men’s National Team point guard and TBB Trier’s prized possession, Jermaine Anderson, who scored 13 points while also dishing out a myriad of helpers, as well as a healthy 16 point contribution from the NBL Canada’s Mississauga Power guard, and tournament MVP, Morgan Lewis- Team On Point was able to edge out Team Fast Forward for a 80-76 win. The winning side was counteracted by a 26 point night from Father Goetz alum, Tut Ruach, and a 14 point effort from the Cleveland Cavalier’s very own – and Brampton native – Tristan Thompson.
Despite a slow start from both teams, the first quarter proved to be a sign of things to come where we witnessed an emerging battle between Ruach and Anderson, as well as a healthy portion of transition basketball and highlight reel dunks from both squads.
On Point also received a sensational effort from 6’6″ forward Eric Kibi all night – especially in the first quarter where he scored nine of his team high 20 points while also establishing a presence inside.
For Flash Forward, Ruach was unstoppable early as he scored eight of his 26 points in the first ten minutes of action- including two three pointers from long range- while also forcing several bad shots by On Point.
It became obvious early on that any time Ruach touched the ball, good things happened- which is partly why he rarely saw the bench throughout the game.
No stranger to big dunks and grown man moves, Thompson was also effective early as he helped Flash Forward grab hold of a 26-23 first quarter lead by scoring six of his 14 points in the opening frame – including a monstrous alley-oop jam from an unselfish Ruach.
Although Flash Forward took control early it was almost certain that On Point would have a redemptive second quarter – which, without hesitation, they did.
Lewis led the charge by pouring in eight of his 16 points in the second, with every basket garnering an ample amount of “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” from an engaged and enthusiastic audience. Most of his damage came from jump shots and isolation opportunities. But the most memorable and exciting basket of the game came from a spectacular one handed-off the glass alley-oop dunk by Lewis near the latter part of the second quarter.
This, understandably so, ignited a comeback and an eventual 39-36 first half lead for Team On Point.
The second half, and more specifically, the third quarter, proved to be an even more entertaining series of events.
Although hounded throughout the first twenty minutes and, subsequently, all night by a relentless Ruach, Anderson didn’t stray away from his calm and cerebral demeanour; instead, he persistently got his teammates involved while also staying true to his scoring abilities.
While he and Lewis maintained control throughout most of the game, it was contributions from the Brampton A’s big man Cavell Johnson -who displayed a consistent mid range game all night- and Kibi that ultimately helped On Point gain an early 54-43 lead in the third quarter.
Near the latter part of the third, Flen Whitfield – a teammate of Johnson’s with the Brampton A’s – established his dominance on both ends of the floor. Whitfield was able to help chip away at On Point’s lead with an extraordinary block on one end and a vicious two handed alley-oop on the other.
In a quarter that saw On Point hold a 12 point lead, Thompson and Flash Forward displayed an immense amount of resilience and mental strength. Momentum was shifting at an exponential rate (for Flash Forward) going into the end of of the 3rd, as they only saw themselves down nine, 60-51.
It seemed only fitting that Ruach and Anderson would star in the final ten minutes of the game where the battle between the two resumed and, not surprisingly, grew even grittier than before.
Although the fourth started off with a few buckets inside by On Point, Flash Forward quickly reverted back to what helped them cut into the lead initially: a balanced inside/outside game.
After only a minute and the half on the bench to start the quarter, Thompson found himself on the receiving end of another spectacular two-handed alley-oop slam dunk courtesy of, none other than, Ruach.
Johnson did his best to keep On Point afloat as he connected on a series of mid range jump shots throughout the fourth, but Flash Forward kept chipping away.
No stranger to big shots, Ruach kept up his consistent play by knocking down yet another long distance three over the outstretched arms of Anderson to help his team reduce the deficit to four, 68-64.
Not long after, Thompson showed the audience what Cavs fans have grown accustomed to all season- a nasty two handed tomahawk throw down- which was a seemingly recurring theme throughout the game.
But that’s as close as Made Men got as Anderson and Lewis upped their level of play in the final minutes.
Lewis – who didn’t see much of the ball in the fourth after being double teamed periodically- seemed to knock down shots when On Point needed them most, including a couple of contested fade away jumpers.
On Point saw themselves with a comfortable lead despite three free throws from former Bonnie, Matthew Wright – a cerebral and well rounded player who, although struggled offensively, demonstrated his prowess on the defensive end.
Although the deficit was close to being erased, time showed no mercy for Flash Forward as they saw the seconds hopelessly tick away while trying to make up a six point deficit.
Despite an onslaught of three pointers from Ruach and company, it became evident that Anderson’s experience and veteran leadership would be the deciding factor down the stretch which ultimately led to a 80-76 win for Team On Point and allowing them the M.A.D.E. Toronto Pro Am Championship Cup trophy.
Congrats to all that participated. Looking forward to a great third season next summer!
Written by Jaspreet Grewal
Posted by Drew Ebanks