BIOSTEEL ALL-CANADIAN GIRLS & BOYS GAMES
(Toronto, On) The best basketball talents in Canada descended upon downtown Toronto (Goldring Centre-UofT) on Saturday for the annual BioSteel All-Canadian Games, and fans were left with two highly competitive games showcasing the future of Canadian basketball.
The BioSteel All-Canadian game is often the cap on an incredible year. Last year saw the meteoric rise of Leonard Miller and Cassandre Prosper culminate at the event after they both won the OSBA Finals, both winning league MVP and Prosper claiming an OSBA Finals MVP as well. This year, Crestwood Prep’s Toby Fournier is looking to find the final piece to an incredible season and write her name to the history books at an event where she’s already gained notoriety for her inclusion in the dunk competition.
This year’s boy’s side is an interesting opportunity for players who may not be household names to take center stage. With Vasean Allette (United Scholastic Academy), Christian Nitu (Fort Erie International Academy), and Michael Nwoko (Prolific Prep) unable to play and/or attend the event, the door is left wide open for some of the more intriguing names in Canada to steal the show. Players like Bubu Benjamin, who was featured on the national team over the summer, Orangeville’s Jalik Dunkley-Distant, who is coming off of a thunderous performance in the Biosteel dunk competition earlier in the weekend, and potential hidden gem, Chris Tadjo, look to be players that could make a name for themselves on a nationally televised stage.
BioSteel All-Canadian Game Team Red MVP Toby Fournier 21pts 11rebs (Photo Fifis Visuals)
The storybook ending for Toby Fournier comes true as Team Red beats Team White 84-80 in a classic Biosteel showdown.
Fournier took home the Biosteel Girl’s Player of the Year award before the game, cementing her status as one of the current hottest prospects in Canadian basketball.
“This feels absolutely incredible. Not a lot of people get this opportunity to be on such a big stage like this,” said Fournier. “Just being one of those people…it’s a great moment.”
The game also had several Biosteel alumni in attendance with Shayeann Day-Wilson and UConn Huskie Aliyah Edwards sitting front row sporting a retro Biosteel jersey.
When the game got underway, Fournier locked up her Crestwood Prep teammate Taija Sta. Maria on the first possession of the game. The two would go back and forth when switched on to each other throughout the game, always ending with a smile and a pat on the back while heading down the court.
“That’s my favourite person. I love her so much,” said Fournier. “She’d be shooting her free throws, and when the ball went in the basket, I’d be cheering for her, I’d just do it automatically.”
BioSteel All-Canadian Game Girls Team White MVP Ajok Madol 13pts 7rebs (Photo Fifis Visuals)
While Fournier’s offense was slow to start the game, Team White’s MVP, Ajok Madol, a Saskatchewan product that recently committed to the University of Minnesota, began to pour in the points in the paint. Madol ended the game with 13 points and seven rebounds and thrived as the game became more physical in the second quarter.
“I just came in with a lot of confidence. This was my last year, I don’t get another shot at this, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Madol.
Fournier came to life offensively in the second quarter, showcasing every bit of her game, including a textbook post move on the way to a 21-point and 11-rebound performance that landed her the Team Red MVP – but Fournier wouldn’t take all the praise after the game, and said it was her team that came together at half time, rallying behind the fact that this was an important all-star game that led to their victory.
Bree Robinson from The Webb School in Tennessee also had a notable performance in front of the scouts at the venue, with 17 points, including a hoop and the harm to stave off a White Team comeback led by Madol and Nevaeh Ferrara Horne at the end of the fourth quarter.
GIRLS GAME STATS
Toby Fournier (MVP) 21pts 11rebs 5blks 2asts
Bree Robinson 17pts 7asts 3stls 2rebs
Marina Radocaj 8pts 5rebs
Cyanne John 8pts 11rebs
Ajok Madol (MVP) 13pts 7rebs 4blks 3asts 3stls
Caidence Amartey 13pts 2rebs
Achol Akot 11pts 9rebs 5stls 2blks
BioSteel All-Canadian Game Boys Team Red MVP Chris Tadjo 25pts 16 rebs (Photo Fifis Visuals)
It was the Chris Tadjo experience at the Goldring Centre as the NBA Academy Latin America product put on a show in Team Red’s 124-113 win in the last game of the day.
“The happiness I feel right now, it’s so huge I don’t even know what to do. I just want to run everywhere,” said Tadjo, who had 25 points and 16 rebounds in the game.
The game opened with Jalik Dunkley-Distant continuing his high-flying ways with a picturesque alley-oop off a Kailon Nichols feed, to bring the crowd to life. Thomas Ndong would ratchet up the intensity even further with a hard foul on Matai Baptiste shortly after. Baptise would thrive in the hard-fought game however, with 14 points and four rebounds.
Team Red would respond with a 16-3 run, including Tadjo adding the first of seven slam dunks on the evening and showcasing a knack for finding his way to the rim in the process.
“I like these types of (physical) games because I know I can ball out,” said Tadjo. “Some guys think because I’m down in Mexico that I’m (not good), I’m actually good. So don’t even think I won’t go hard on you because I will go hard, every time.”
BioSteel All-Canadian Game Boys Team White MVP Michael Evbagharu 21pts 11rebs (Photo Fifis Visuals)
The dunks and blocks kept coming from everywhere, including Biosteel Player of the Year, David Simon (Royal Crown Academy), who said it was an honour to be recognized by the coaches before the game.
“I got to win a championship, I got to win a Biosteel game, and now I get to bring this award home,” he said.
Simon, a Windsor, Ontario native, had 13 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks, and he said that the talent on the floor had been working hard towards this moment and it showed in the quality and competitiveness of the game.
Team White also had standout performers with Michael Evbagharu scoring 21 points and 11 rebounds to take home his team’s MVP honours. Evbagharu is coming off an incredible season after his Royal Crown Academy captured their first OSBA Final 8 Boys Championship in which he was also named MVP.
Baraka Okojie had 20 points, and Jaiden Cole had 18 points. Both showed tremendous skills and versatility in the game, scoring on layups and dunks inside as well as combining for five threes for their team while shooting a combined 50 percent from beyond the arc.
BOYS GAME STATS
Chris Tadjo (MVP) 25pts 16pts 2blks
Bubu Benjamin 15pts 5rebs 2asts 1stl
Matai Baptiste 14pts 4rebs 1blk 1stl
Jahari Williamson 13pts 8asts 5rebs
David Simon 13pts 9rebs 4blks
Michael Evbagharu (MVP) 21pts 11rebs 3asts 2stls
Baraka Okojie 20pts 8rebs 6asts 4stls
Jaiden Cole 18pts 6rebs
Felix Kossaras 11pts 5rebs 2asts
Kailon Nichols 10pts 7asts 5rebs
BioSteel Canadian Boys Player of the Year David Simon & Girls Player of the Year Toby Fournier
(Courtesy Fifis Visuals)