WATERLOO, ON–The Waterloo Wildhawks tournament is comprised of eight of the same teams that participated in the Etobicoke Elite Thunder Jam. The Wildhawks came out on top a few weeks ago at the Thunder Jam and are one of the favourites to take the title at their own tournament. However, the solid team game of the Barrie Royals and a talented Oakville Venom squad will be in the way of their second straight OBA tournament crown.
In one of the more exciting games of the night the Barrie Royals defeated the Etobicoke Elite 58-50. The advantage that the Royals have over other teams is their proficiency in using the shot clock and not forcing tough shots. Furthermore, there is a connection between the players and head coach Pat Dooley which is evident from the way that they respond to instruction.
The score does not tell the story of how the game progressed. The Royals were in complete control leading up to the final minutes of the game, where the Thunder finally struck back to keep the score respectable.
Turnovers were the biggest issue for the Thunder. Their inability to handle the rock stunted their chances of getting into an offensive rhythm and gave the Royals backcourt too many fast break points.
Thomas Chalmers had a solid outing on Friday night posting 15 points while Matt Plunkett and 2014 stud Mackenzie Morrison pitched in with 10 each. Chalmers was effective in getting to the basket with athletic finishes as he found gaps in the defense.
At half time the Royals owned a 39-25 lead which was the largest of the game. It wasn’t until the last four minutes that the Thunder would go on a run bringing that lead to eight and eventually lose the game by 12. Asides from ball handling being an issue, this Thunder team needs to play with a consistent energy level rather than attacking in spurts.
Sukhpreet Singh – Queen’s Commit
Singh is no stranger on the NPH radar, but the guard play that we saw today was something that we haven’t seen from him in a while. Although his Etobicoke team fell short against a guard heavy Venom squad, he portrayed a part of his game that we had seen glimpses of while he was a Bear playing for Martingrove.
Part of the reason for this is because Martingrove has one of the best handlers in the GTA, Emmanuel Owootoah. Last night, Singh came out with incredible speed that could not be guarded by some fairly athletic Venom guards. As he got within 15 feet of the basket, the Venom defense would collapse on him and this would give him the chance to throw dimes to his teammates.
His court vision is something that really stood out. His long arms leave little distance between the ball and the hardwood on each bounce as he focuses more attention towards his cutters as they slice from their lanes.
Queen’s has picked up a solid guard and possibly their most valuable recruit yet. Ryall Stroud and Patrick Street are good role players but not as complete of a package as Singh. You can bet that NPH will be following these future CIS rookies once the season begins.