U of T Blues Holiday of Hoops Showdown
Written by Jas Grewal
Sunday, December 20th marked the final day of the inaugural University of Toronto Varsity Blues Holiday of Hoops Showcase at the University of Toronto’s newly built Goldring Centre. The event hosted a total of 10 teams in the two day long (Dec. 19-20) event and showcased some of the top high-school talent in Southern Ontario.
Day 2 Recap:
On day two of the Holiday of Hoops Showdown, the Thornlea Thunder was in full form in their 78-43 walkover win over the Alexander Mackenzie Mustangs.
Much of the damage took place in the first half where the Thunder’s Niro Surendren poured in nine of his 15 points including a pile of rebounds for Thornlea, while teammate Cashius McNeilly balanced his 13 point performance throughout the entirety of the game
Although the Mustangs were down single digits in the first half, it was the second half surge ignited by the Thunder that eventually stretched the lead to an insurmountable deficit.
James Canlas led the Mustangs with 11 points and was the only player on Mackenzie to hit double-digits in the 35-point loss.
Game two of the Holiday Showdown saw the Martingrove Bears take on a guard-heavy Central Tech Blues club.
Despite a valiant effort by guard Trevor Hutton, who led his Blues squad with a team-high 19 points, Central Tech fell to Martingrove 81-66.
The Blues led by two at the half against the Bears in what was a seemingly neck and neck contest. But the fourth quarter was where Sharmarke Warsame, Michael Okafor and Petar Basta spearheaded a 25-12 run against a back pedaling Blues team.
The scoring surge proved to be too much for Central Tech as the Bears were able to nab the 15-point win.
Warsame led the Bears with 23 points while Okafor chipped in with 15 of his own in the victory.
In perhaps the most riveting and competitive matchup on day two of the Holiday of Hoops Showdown, Cardinal Newman downed the Oakwood Barons 63-62 in dramatic fashion.
Much of the attention in this game focused on the spirited battle between Cardinal Newman’s Maliek Gordon and Oakwood’s Kadre Gray.
Both Gordon and Gray combined for 57 points in the contest and managed to carry the load offensively for their respective squads.
After being down four points at the half, 33-29, and subsequently trading baskets for the majority of the third quarter, Cardinal Newman looked to steal the win in the final stages of the fourth quarter.
Oakwood led 60-56 with less than a minute remaining in the game, but it was in the final seconds of action where Newman, down three, 62-59, had a final opportunity to tie the game.
Goran Veselinovic, a sharpshooter for Cardinal Newman, was able to connect on a long distance trifecta while being fouled as seconds ticked off the clock. After completing the four-point play, Newman saw themselves up one, 63-62, over a stunned and upset Oakwood Barons club with less than a second to spare.
Gordon poured in a game high 29 points in the contest, with 17 of his points coming in the second half, while Oakwood’s Kadre Gray held his ground with 28 of his own.
In the final matchup, the St. Marcellinus Spirit were able to fend off the Dunbarton Spartans in a 56-52 win.
St. Marcellinus carried a distinct size advantage over Dunbarton, which ultimately helped fuel their early lead over the Spartans.
6’9” Jaden Bediako may not have scored many points in the win, but his ability to rebound on both ends of the floor and block and alter shots on the defensive end proved to be a difference maker.
Although the Spartans saw themselves down as many as 16 points in the second quarter, Dunbarton, behind a stellar offensive showcase put on by Kyrin Henlin, was able to cut into the lead towards the end of the fourth quarter.
But by the time Dunbarton inched within striking distance against a backpedaling Marcellinus club, there wasn’t enough time on the clock to complete a come from behind victory. By the end of it St. Marcellinus snuck away with the four-point win behind a balanced team effort put on by the boys in red.
Bediako finished with eight points in the contest along with a pile of rebounds and blocks, while Jaden Campbell led the Spirit with 10 points, including two timely three pointers in the fourth to seal the deal.
Henlin seemed to be the only source of scoring for Dunbarton and managed to pour in a game-high 26 points in the loss.
Special thanks to U of T Varsity Blues Head Coach John Campbell and Assistant Coach Mike DiGiorgio for their hospitality.
Day 1 Results:
Game 1: Cardinal Newman 61(Anthony Torrison-18pts) Lawrence Park 37(Mikey Warrington-10pts)
Game 2: Thornlea 73(Denzel Cooper-23pts) Sir Alan MacNab 67(Sam Jenkins-19pts)
Game 3: Oakwood 80(Dequan Cascart-19pts) Martingrove 60(Dominic Bakuteka-12pts)
Game 4: St. Marcellinus 75(Jaden Campbell-18pts) Central Tech(Luquan Brown-14pts)
Written by Jas Grewal
Edited by Drew Ebanks