The Scarborough Shooting Stars started the season as one of three new expansion teams to the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), and with a 108-96 win over the Saskatchewan Rattlers in the quarterfinals, they’ll have a chance to prove they’re one of the league’s best.
The win sees The Shooting Stars find a place in the semi-finals along with the Hamilton Honey Badgers, Niagara River Lions and Ottawa Black Jacks taking place in Ottawa, August 12-14.
“This is a historical moment,” said Chris Exilus, head coach of the Shooting Stars. “Time has stopped, it started at three o’clock, and all these fans and all these kids will remember this day, as will our franchise.”
Kalif Young and Cameron Chatman celebrate a big play (Courtesy Shaun McLeod)
The Shooting Stars came into the season as a patchwork team, with general manager Brady Heslip working on adding talent up nearly until the first game, with Isiaha Mike as a last-minute addition. The brief offseason was headlined by the addition of Jermaine Cole, who played five games with Scarborough before heading out on tour. While the Cole era was short-lived, the impact on the league was undeniable, with the Shooting Stars selling out five straight games, home and away, and drawing Drake out to sit courtside for the inaugural home games.
Scarborough also represented the league’s first taste of the Greater Toronto Area market, and it gave a home to so many of the talented players who have come from the mecca of Canadian basketball. It started with Jamaal Magloire, former NBA All-Star who was named the first vice president and senior adviser, and the team would go on to add Kyle Alexander, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, and Mike, all the way to the team’s final additional, Kassius Robertson, who had 24 points, five rebounds and two assists in the team’s quarterfinal win.
“I used to play for the Scarborough Blues way back in the day,” said Robertson, referencing the local rep team. “It’s a super humbling experience to be able to come back and play in the city, and I’m just privileged to be a part of the team.”
Robertson’s performance was matched by Jalen Harris, who has been the team’s cornerstone throughout the season. Harris had 24 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Kameron Chatman, another pillar for the Shooting Stars, had 16 points and four rebounds.
“If he starts or he’s on the bench, it’s all about playing as a unit, and he’s been a really good player for us all this year,” said Exilus. “He’s stepped up as we expected him to.”
Scarborough basketball legend and Shooting Stars Vice President Jamaal Magloire
The Rattlers played tough to open the game but fell behind after half as the depth and shooting of the Shooting Stars began to show. The Rattlers were led by Tony Carr, who had 21 points, while Scottie Lindsey and Jordy Tshimanga had 20 points apiece.
Robertson said the team made an effort to keep the Rattlers, and Carr especially, off the three-point line, and they were able to hold them to 27 per cent from deep in the game while shooting 44 per cent themselves.
From a patchwork team to the playoffs – the Shooting Stars will play their first game on Championship Weekend in Ottawa against the Niagara River Lions, who took down the Guelph Nighthawks 99-78 in their quarterfinal match-up. The River Lions are also a familiar team for Robertson, who played with them in 2019 and 2021, but Robertson says it’s anything but a revenge game for him.
“I love all those guys over there. Those are my people for sure,” said Robertson. “It will be fun playing against them…it’s going to be heated though. They’re a really good team, so we have to come in focused and ready to play.”
The Scarborough Shooting Stars honoured Scarborough native, former NBA All-Star, Toronto Raptors assistant coach and team Vice President with a team jersey before the game.
Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse attended the game with his wife and 2 children.
Saskatchewan’s Tony Carr became the first player in league history to register a playoff triple-double.
Carr also set a new CEBL record for the most assists in a postseason game with 15 breaking the previous record of 11 held by Scarborough native Xavier Rathan-Mayes (August 24th, 2019 vs. the Niagara River Lions)
Scarborough Shooting Stars vs. Saskatchewan Rattlers boxscore click HERE.
Scarborough Shooting Stars vs. Saskatchewan Rattlers livestream link below: